Reference Services


October 20, 2009

History Day @ Your Library

Teachers and media specialists along with public and academic librarians involved with History Day are invited to attend this info-filled day focused on making the most of library resources for students and teachers working on History Day in Minnesota.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009
8:00am - 4:30pm
Minnesota History Center - St. Paul, MN


Two attendees from the same library/organization can attend for the price of one!

If you've already registered, just have your friend write your name in the appropriate box on the registration form - it's that easy!

Please register by October 28

Also remember that Metronet has Continuing Education scholarships available for members in the 7-county metro area. Scholarships can cover the cost of registration, a substitute, travel costs, etc. Visit to learn more and download the application form.

Metronet, Metropolitan Library Service Agency (MELSA), and History Day in Minnesota are joining forces to present a conference-style workshop to help teachers and students effectively use library resources. Participants will learn the steps of a History Day project and how it differs from the ordinary research project. Twenty break-out sessions on research, reliable resources, and responsible use of information will provide tools and tips on making History Day a success for students, teachers, and librarians. A special panel of "Innovative Individuals in History" will highlight the day.

Lunch in Café Minnesota and parking are included in the $40 registration fee. Registration deadline is October 28 and space is limited to the first 100 registrations. Online registration can be found at Additional information (publicity flyer and sessions/schedule) can be found at Questions? Email

Metronet and MELSA are state-sponsored organizations that work to bring all kinds of libraries--public, university, school, and special--from around the metro area together to tackle relevant issues and services.

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" »

September 11, 2009

August Issue of Reference Notes is on the Web

The *August* issue of Minitex Reference Notes has been published to the web

This month we celebrate the return of students (and librarians) to school with the following articles:

* It's Back to School!

* ELM Database Highlights: Back to School

* Downloadable Slide Presentation to Help Promote ELM to Teachers

...and we also celebrate ELM and the Fall conference season with these

* Spotlight on ELM - OAISter

* MEMO Conference

* Minitex Reference Fall Conference Calendar

Find this month's celebration in full, along with past celebrations, at

Thanks for reading - and good luck this year!

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 16, 2009

June Issue of Reference Notes is on the Web!

And actually has been for quite some time. Sorry! Forgot to post it here before heading to the ALA annual conference.

In the June issue of Reference Notes, you'll find:

- A new catalog option from OCLC
- An update on new AskMN member libraries
- A note about a former Minnesota librarian turned ASCLA RUSA executive director
- An innovative tool to pre-limit catalog searches
- Examples of information literacy and college readiness programs across the P-20 spectrum
- Guidance in creating DIY maps
- Yahoo!Pipes in 2.0 minutes
- A re-cap of the MN Digital Library annual meeting
- A call for applications for digitization projects through the MN Digital Library
- A story about new literacy skills and the Scratch software
- A recorded conversation between five MN library directors about dealing with budget shortfalls, and...
- A model for successful customer service from online shoe retailer Zappos.

Find the June issue, along with past issues, at:

June 25, 2009

The Importance of Citing Your Sources

It's not just schoolkids that get in trouble for not citing their sources. The editor of Wired, Chris Anderson, has recently come under fire for not attributing several quotes used in his book to the source: Wikipedia. Read more from an LA Times Blog article: "Chris Anderson's 'Free' Appears to Borrow Freely from Wikipedia and Other Sources." Mr. Anderson's excuse? "[I]nability to find a good citation format for web resources." I guess one could find fault with the MLA, APA, Turabian, or Chicago styles of website citation - if one was looking - but it seems like you'd want to use something to cite your source. Especially as an editor of a widely-read publication.

June 16, 2009

Search Engine Visibility and the Future of Libraries

Steve Rubel, over at the Micro Persuasion blog, evocatively writes that Google is every brand's homepage. For the purposes of today's post, let's substitute "library" for "brand." Google is every library's homepage. Let's face that fact. We know that information-seeking students, business people, and citizens go to Google first, and may turn to a library if they can't find what they're looking for there. So how can we capitalize on that?

Rubel highlights several ways that brands [libraries] can become more visible to Google searchers in his company's "Search Engine Visibility" position paper. A lot of this is focused on public relations professionals, and trots out baleful expressions like "search engine marketing" (as important as, okay, I'll grudgingly admit that is), but the broad concept of this position paper is highly relevant to the future of libraries. The content that libraries make available has to be visible to search engines, because that is where people look for information. Articles, books, programming... all of it has to be findable via Google.

Continue reading "Search Engine Visibility and the Future of Libraries" »

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:

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:

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" »

June 1, 2009

New Webinar Produced by MLA's Public Library Division

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

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

Register Here!

Continue reading "New Webinar Produced by MLA's Public Library Division " »

May 27, 2009

2.0 Tools in 2.0 Minutes: Yahoo!Pipes

The most recent addition to our ongoing series, “2.0 Tools in 2.0 Minutes,” is now live. It provides an introduction to Yahoo!Pipes, which may help lessen your information load. Yahoo!Pipes can monitor multiple online sources automatically and will just deliver content from those sources according to filters that you set up ahead of time. This filtering functionality is just one of the many possibilities of Yahoo!Pipes. Check out several pipes that we’ve created here: or try a keyword search of the Pipes site for “library” for more examples.

What 2.0 tool do you use on a daily or weekly basis? How does it help you manage information or do your job more efficiently? Drop a note to tell your story and we may use your submission as our next “2.0 Tools in 2.0 Minutes” video.

May 22, 2009

How College Students Use Their Libraries

A new report from Primary Research Group (available for purchase here) looks at student use of academic library reference departments. Some findings recounted in the press release:

• 21.36% of the students in the sample say that they have sought assistance from a reference librarian within the past month. Students raised in cities were significantly more likely than others, especially those raised in suburbs, to have sought help from a reference librarian within the past month.
• 50% of students at research universities (most of which surely have subject specialists for most majors or concentrations) do not believe that their college library has a subject specialist for their chosen or planned major.
• Close to 19% of students in the fine or performing arts have ever asked reference questions via email, the highest percentage among all types of majors or concentrations.
• 9.87% of the students in the sample said that asking the reference librarian a question was a little embarrassing and that consequently they tried to figure it out for themselves and another 10.38% said that the reference librarians seem busy and that is seems that they would be pestering them by asking them for assistance.

For more on how students use academic libraries, view and download the free and highly detailed report Studying Students: The Undergraduate Research Project at the University of Rochester.

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.

May 4, 2009

Will These New Search Tools Make Us Worse Searchers?

Internet search providers are doing some innovative things these days. Recently, two examples surfaced: Wolfram/Alpha, which returns answers rather than sources; and Netbase, which looks at the language surrounding a search term to expand on a topic’s context.

Web Tool “as Important as Google” [Wolfram/Alpha], BBC News
A Smarter Search for What Ails You [Netbase], Technology Review

Many of these new search technologies promise to analyze the context of data and return specific answers to our questions, as opposed to current search engines that bring us to sources where we can find the answers. It’s a fine point, but an important one. Current search technologies require us to know of or at least analyze the source for an answer. New tech does more of this legwork for us in terms of sifting through a source to find data. But what does this mean, besides allowing us to type in “population Rhode Island” and being shown a number, rather than the Census Bureau web page where that number comes from?

It means that the source is hidden or at least obfuscated, which begs a couple of questions: First, commercial vendors are presenting data rather than sources. Who says they have the principle of good information as a primary motive? Second, such services further remove searchers from the process of search and make us less responsible for checking the sources for found information. We’ll potentially be more reliant on the search tool, and less reliant on our own critical thinking skills.

I’m not saying that the Internet should be a place that requires a higher education to use, but I do think a higher level of skepticism can’t hurt. Some aspects of these technologies are easily lovable (quicker reference-type answers, making the Internet more practical for everyone, automatic relationship-building between topics) but some other aspects make me nervous. What do you think?

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 – The issue can be read at

April 24, 2009

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

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 (, 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: (“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!" »

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:

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.

March 26, 2009

Your Library is not Batman

Does your library have a Twitter handle, a Facebook site, a MySpace page, a YouTube channel, and a FriendFeed account? If so, you’ve got quite a social media utility belt. But do you need all those tools? Rohit Bhargava at the Influential Marketing Blog wonders if libraries, er, brands that try to have a presence everywhere spread themselves too thin and don’t have an impact anywhere. Sure, Batman needed a utility belt, but does your library? Leave a note in the comments with your thoughts.

March 4, 2009

2.0 Tools in 2.0 Minutes

What do you think of when you think of “2.0”? For some, the term brings to mind time-wasting websites and misplaced library efforts. Others fully embrace 2.0 and spread themselves - and their libraries - successfully throughout the social web. Many of us are likely somewhere in the middle: interested in new tools, but not sure how to efficiently incorporate them into our professional duties.

Today we’d like to open up a new series of videos that speak to people in all of these scenarios: “2.0 Tools in 2.0 Minutes.” This ongoing series will profile a 2.0 tool and highlight its value to you, the busy library professional, in almost no time flat. You’ll find no 2.0 for the sake of 2.0 here, though; nothing bleeding edge just because it’s bleeding edge. Instead, we’ll only highlight tools that can help you do your everyday job more efficiently. We’ll answer the question, how can 2.0 tools help me be more productive, not less?

The series begins with what we believe to be the most essential element of the 2.0 revolution, and arguably the tool that can add the most productivity to your work day by bringing valuable information to you: RSS Feeds (2:00). Then we’ll take a look at how Greasemonkey (2:17) can help you customize and optimize specific websites. And we’ll end with a tour of a tool that grants free access to office products like word processors, spreadsheets, and presentation software from anywhere with an Internet connection: Zoho (1:59).

These videos are the first three in an ongoing series. To determine which tools to cover next, we’d like to hear from you. What single 2.0 tool has been most effective in making your work more efficient? Drop a comment and we’ll consider your favorite site for the dubious honor of being the next “2.0 Tools in 2.0 Minutes” video.

February 26, 2009

Marketing to the Irrational People Who Don't Use Your Library

It doesn’t make any sense to avoid using a library. You know that and I know that. Every library offers resources that are already paid for that can make a person’s life better, their decisions wiser, and their free time more enjoyably spent. So, why then aren’t libraries used by every rational person? Seth Godin, a marketing consultant and author, thinks it’s because customers are irrational. You can tell them all about how your library will save them money and time and you can go into great detail about the benefits you offer – but customers on the whole don’t care about that. What they care about is what their friends and family think, or the hassle of going out of their way to get a library card, or the embarrassment of not knowing how to find a book. Relatively little things. Relatively irrational things when compared to all the tangible benefits libraries offer, but things that deter new library users nonetheless – which means that we might need to be more irrational when reaching out to new patrons or students or clients. We might need to change the focus from what our library offers, to what our potential customers want.

So what’s the best way to tell potential customers that your library has an easy way to find books, or a hassle-free library card application process, or that their friends and family are already using the library? Well, when you’re pondering that question, it might be helpful to hear actual stories about different marketing tools from businesses that have used them. The feedback contained in Marketing Sherpa’s 2009 Marketing Wisdom report can help you identify outreach pitfalls to avoid and opportunities to engage. What are proven ways to reach customers by email? What 2.0 tools have garnered marketing success for businesses? How can search engine marketing, mobile marketing, and web design increase customer involvement? You’ll find insight into these topics and more with the Marketing Sherpa report.

Humans are not logic-machines. We’re often motivated by insecurity, or whimsy, or our peers rather than the cold, hard facts. Marketers use this to their advantage, and so, too, can libraries.

February 22, 2009

Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia

From Joyce Antler, Jewish Women's Archive Advisory Committee Chair

On March 1, 2009, the Jewish Women’s Archive will launch the free, online version of Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia, edited by Professors Paula Hyman of Yale University and Dalia Ofer of Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Previously available only on CD-ROM, the Encyclopedia is the first comprehensive source on the history of Jewish women and includes more than 1,700 biographies, 300 thematic essays, and 1,400 photographs and illustrations. The Encyclopedia nearly doubles the content available on and gives Internet users all over the world free and easy access to a wealth of information.

To keep the Encyclopedia current, we hope to add new entries from time to time and to update published pieces as necessary.

Targeting the Ages: Programming that Hits the Mark

MINITEX is pleased to announce that availability of the Soaring to Excellence 2009 teleconference, “Targeting the Ages: Programming that Hits the Mark."

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!

Program Overview
Targeting the Ages: Programming that Hits the Mark

A. A Primer for Programming

1. Identifying Your Patrons' Needs
2. Planning for Successful Implementation
3. Adaptation is Key
4. Common Pitfalls

B. Programming for Youth

1. Common Needs of Audience
2. Examples of Innovative Programs

C. Programming for Adults

1. Common Needs of Audience
2. Examples of Innovative Programs

D. Programming for Seniors

1. Common Needs of Audience
2. Examples of Innovative Programs

E. Question and Answer Session

February 5, 2009

PennSound - Poetry You Can Download

While researching for a poem by Elizabeth Alexander, I learned of a terrific web resource created by collaborative entities at the University of Pennsylvania.

"PennSound (, launched January 1, 2005, is a Web-based archive for noncommercial distribution of the largest collection of poetry sound files on the Internet. PennSound offers a large variety of digital recordings of poems..." (

PennSound is sponsored by Penn's Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing and co-directed by Al Filreis, English professor and director of Penn's Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing, and Charles Bernstein, Penn English professor.

"The poetry sound files are retrievable both from a library catalog by authors' names and via Web search engines. PennSound combines aspects of a library archive and a Web music-download site. Basic bibliographic information is incorporated in each file so that a user downloads not only the sound but also key facts about the recording, including author, title, place and date of the recording, series, as well as copyright information." (

Give it a spin!

February 2, 2009

Let's Talk About the Catalog

When you talk to your non-library friends about libraries, is there one thing that seems to come up again and again? It’s the catalog, isn’t it? My friends always joke about the Dewey Decimal system; it’s like comic gold. And it makes me think that when most non-library people think about libraries, they think about library catalogs. So what do you think about your library’s catalog?

A recent survey (“Perceptions 2008: an International Survey of Library Automation”) looks at librarians’ satisfaction levels with library catalog systems, and provides insight into different vendors. Is your library automation system mentioned? Do you agree with the general drift of the feedback?

I think we can all agree that improvements can always be made in how our catalogs work. So, going forward, what are some things that can be done to make library catalogs easier for our patrons to use?

Continue reading "Let's Talk About the Catalog" »

January 21, 2009

Online Research Goes Video

Where are students turning with increasing frequency for research help? According to a recent article in the International Herald Tribune, they’re turning to YouTube. The article, titled “Is YouTube the next Google?,” relays new search statistics that put YouTube ahead of Yahoo! Search in terms of popularity and tells the story of one nine-year-old who starts his homework research with YouTube.

Has your library ever put videos online as a way to reach out to your students, no matter their age? If so, drop a link in the comments, because we’d love to see examples.

And don’t think it’s just students embracing online video. A site called TeacherTube aggregates instructional videos and lesson plans from all grade levels and curriculum areas. Teachers, librarians, and other educators - as well as students - can browse through thousands of videos by broad topic channel and can keyword search for videos on specific subjects.    

It’s important for libraries to stake a claim where people are looking for information. In the case of students and teachers, from grade school to college, the next frontier seems to be online video.

January 20, 2009

More Things On a Stick Program To Launch in January

More Things On a Stick Program To Launch in January

ST.PAUL, Minnesota (January 15, 2009) --Minnesota’s seven multicounty, multitype library systems (multitypes) will launch the More Things On a Stick: A Library Learning 2.0 Program on January 20, 2009.. This program is the new version of the very popular 23 Things On a Stick Program sponsored the Minnesota Multitypes last year. Staff in academic, school, public and special libraries, as well as members of library Governing and Advisory Boards are invited to participate in this fun, self-paced program that encourages participants to experiment with various Web 2.0 tools. Mashups, more organizational and productivity tools, and deeper uses of RSS and Delicious are just a few of the new offerings in 2009.

All details about how to participate and suggestions for getting ready are now available online at Registration will begin on January 20th at this same address (as part of Thing 1). Those who complete all 23 Things plus the evaluation within 17 weeks will win a completion prize.

Continue reading "More Things On a Stick Program To Launch in January" »

January 14, 2009

Resources for Libraries in Hard Economic Times

ALA released a resource for libraries in hard economic times.

The “Advocating in a Tough Economy Toolkit” is available at

Additional resources:
Media coverage of libraries' role during the current economic crisis.

A relevant past article by ALA:
ALA: Library Funding to Help Get America Back on Track

Minnesota media coverage of libraries’ role in hard economic times can be found at:

WebJunction pathfinder: Focus on Libraries in Tough Economic Times

January 13, 2009

The Future of Reference

Periodically, the librarians of the U of M campus get together for an informal discussion session.  Yesterday they met to discuss an article by Stephen Abrams, and I was happy to be able to take part. The article is available here for now (Evolution to Revolution to Chaos? Reference in Transition) and is archived in full text in several ELM databases, including Academic Search Premier and InfoTrac Student Edition. In the article, Abrams offers fourteen potential scenarios for the future of library reference service. Abrams glosses over the “bricks” of library buildings (saying that these have been “renovated to within an inch of their lives into commons, research, community, teen, and scholarly spaces” where library services are successfully put into context) and breezes right past the “clicks” of online library service (touting the profession’s creation of “websites, elearning objects, and licensing for more content than individual libraries ever dreamed of having in the past!”). Instead, he focuses his fourteen scenarios on our “tricks” – those things we do so successfully to help people find information when they’re in our libraries. The biggest challenge to reference services in the coming era, Abrams says, is transferring this expertise – and marketing it as such – to the online environment.

I won’t go over each scenario here, but I would recommend giving the article a scan if you haven’t seen it already. The ideas are in turn logical and provocative, interesting and challenging. If you had to pick one of these scenarios as being the most likely, which would it be? Which one would you most like to be a part of professionally?

The discussion in the room was interesting; here are some random notes that may provide food for thought as you’re thinking about reference in the 21st Century:

Continue reading "The Future of Reference" »

January 12, 2009

Teaching & Learning in Second Life - Conference

Alliance Library System and LearningTimes are pleased to announce an exciting conference featuring science and virtual worlds. On January 30th we are "Stepping Into Science" and taking the day to explore the possibilities of using virtual worlds to learn about and teach science. The conference will be taking place entirely in Second Life and will feature a keynote and panel discussion as well as small breakout sessions, field trips and an opportunity participate in "Science Friday", NPR's live broadcast from Second Life.

For more information and to register, click here:

Speakers and field trips will include:

- Troy McConaghy (Scientist and Educator who has been involved with Second Life for over three years)
- Dr. George Djorgovski (Caltech and Meta Institute for Computational Astrophysics (MICA))
- Joanna Scott (Writer for Nature and manages Second Nature on Second Life)
- Adrienne J. Gauthier, M.Ed. (Instructional Technology Specialist, Steward Observatory)
- Tony Crider (Elon University)

This online conference provides a great opportunity for anyone interested in exploring the latest in science education using 3D, immersive, virtual worlds.

It is ideal for anyone who might be at any stage of implementing education projects using virtual worlds.

There will be many opportunities to ask questions and discuss ideas with our speakers and guides as well as others attending the conference.

Those new to Second Life are encouraged to attend! We'll even be offering Second Life orientations before the 30th so if you've been meaning to check out Second Life, but haven't quite gotten around to it this is a great and structured opportunity to learn about some fantastic projects and also take Second Life for a spin.

The conference will be held live online in Second Life on January 30th. The registration fee is $65 per person. (Group rates are available.)

For more information on the conference, please visit:

Please freely distribute this invitation to those you might thing would interested in attending!

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!

December 15, 2008

Library Challenges & Opportunities 2009 teleconference, “Information Literacy for Life"

MINITEX is pleased to announce that availability of the Library Challenges & Opportunities 2009 teleconference, “Information Literacy for Life"

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!

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 ( 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.

November 13, 2008

Soaring to Excellence 2009 Teleconference

MINITEX is pleased to announce that availability of the Soaring to Excellence 2009 teleconference, “Reversing the Ratchet: Basic Technology Adoption Strategies for Library Workers."

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!

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

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 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" »

July 7, 2008

OCLC WorldMap

From OCLC:

The OCLC WorldMap is a prototype system that provides an interactive visual tool for selecting and displaying international library holdings represented in WorldCat, and publishing, library, cultural heritage, and collection data.

The OCLC WorldMap allows users to select countries of interest, then to compare various library and cultural heritage data by country.

WorldMap will generate interactive graphs that compare several different kinds of data for up to four countries at a time. The data includes the number of:

* Holdings in WorldCat for titles published in each country,
* Languages represented in WorldCat for titles published in each country,
* Titles in WorldCat published in each country; or
* Libraries in each country (broken down by type of library),
* Library volumes in each country (broken down by type of library),
* Certified/degreed librarians in each country (broken down by type of library),
* Registered library users in each country (broken down by type of library),
* Library expenditures (in US $), for each country (broken down type of library),
* Cultural heritage institutions (museums and archives) in each country, and
* Publishers in each country.

Results are displayed on a new screen. In addition, the tabs for each country on the new screen allow viewing of the complete dataset for each country, and the sources for the data (N/A indicates no data are available). A key to the display (.pdf: 607K/6 pp.) is available.

The data for the map were generated from WorldCat and more than forty other sources. The non-WorldCat data in the prototype, however, may not be complete. OCLC is not responsible for incomplete or inaccurate data. If you know of other data sources that can be used to update our data, please let us know.

For more information on OCLC WorldMap

June 2, 2008

The Parallel Information Universe

In The Parallel Information Universe Mike Eisenberg, Dean Emeritus and Professor, University of Washington, Seattle, asserts that the Web 2.0 buzz is just as much about a change in focus as it is the new technology. This "change in focus to participation, user control, sharing, openness, and networking" is the core of Eisenberg's point - that these new Web 2.0 technologies provide a "parallel information universe." And since the libraries' founding principles are based on meeting patrons' information needs, then libraries must take a lead in this "parallel information universe." The purpose of the article is to provide an environmental scan and a SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunity, threat) analysis for a variety of new technologies.

Take a moment to check out this article in Library Journal - May 2008. A pdf full-text version is available through Academic Search Premier.

Eisenberg, Mike. "The Parallel Information Universe." Library Journal 133.8 (2008): 22-5.

Exclusive Twin Cities Appearance - David Hajdu

The Friends of the University of Minnesota Libraries and the Children's Literature Research Collections proudly present the exclusive Twin Cities appearance by David Hajdu, author of The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic Book Scare and How It Changed America.

Tuesday, July 8
7:30 p.m.
Elmer L. Andersen Library
222 21st Avenue South
University of Minnesota Twin Cities Campus

Dessert reception follows with books available for sale courtesy of Red Balloon Bookshop. David Hajdu will be signing books during the reception.

Comic books, not rock-and-roll, created the generation gap. They also spawned juvenile delinquency, crime, sexual deviance, and things of unspeakable depravity. Long before Elvis appeared on Ed Sullivan from the waist up, long before Jerry Lee Lewis married his cousin, long before James Dean yelled, "You're tearing me apart," teachers, politicians, priests, and parents were lining up across from comic book publishers, writers, artists, and children at bonfires and Senate hearings decrying the evil that was the ten-cent plague.

David Hajdu's The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic Book Scare and How It Changed America comprises the last book in an informal trilogy about American popular culture at mid-century, and radically revises common notions of popular culture, the generation gap, and the divide between "high" and "low" art.

This special event with David Hajdu is part of an evening celebration honoring John Borger and his gift of almost 40,000 comic books to the Children's Literature Research Collections at the University Libraries.

For more information contact Lanaya Stangret at (612) 624-9339 or

May 22, 2008

Practical Time Management

Practical Time Management: How to Get Things Done When You Don't Have Time, People, or Resources

State Library Services will be bringing Pat Wagner to five locations in Minnesota, June 23-27, 2008, for a workshop called: Practical Time Management.

Continue reading "Practical Time Management" »

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 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 18, 2008

Spring Conferences!

Planning for spring conferences is heating up! There are (or have been) a number of new and ongoing learning opportunities specifically for or including reference services staff this spring 2008:

• PLA, March 25 – 29, 2008
• MnPALS Reference User Group Workday, March 28, 2008
ARLD Day (Academic and Research Libraries Division, Minnesota Library Association), April 25, 2008
MINITEX ILL Conference, May 5, 2008
e-Learning Summit, May 21 – 22, 2008
Midwest Library Technology Conference, May 29-30, 2008

In light of these exciting and unique opportunities, the planning committee for the University of Minnesota/MINITEX Library Information Network Reference Symposium has decided to cancel our 6th Symposium, on May 12, 2008. Rather, we strongly encourage you to register for and participate in these unique opportunities. We’ll see you there!

April 10, 2008

26th Annual Johnson O'Malley Title VII Indian Education Conference

Location: Fond du Lac Ojibwe School, Fond du Lac Reservation, Cloquet, MN

Dates: July 17-18, 2008 (1-½ days of workshops and speakers)

July 17 8:30-5:15
July 18 8:30-12

The mission of this annual conference is to provide quality training and resources for administrators, educators, teachers, and parents that meet the unique cultural and educational needs of American Indian learners.

Fee: $50 in advance/$75 after June 1

Program Proposals: If you have questions, please call the Department of Education-Office of Indian Education, Roseville at 651-582-8831 or Valerie Tanner at The College of St. Scholastica (218) 723-6014.

For questions concerning registration please contact FDL Accounting: 218.878.7536

Bridget Paulson
Program Accounting Director
Fond du Lac Reservation
1720 Big Lake Road
Cloquet, Minnesota 55720
Fax: 218-878-8152

For all other questions:
Fond du Lac Ojibwe School, Jennifer Trotterchaude, 218.878.7547

For registration forms and additional information:

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,, 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

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


March 6, 2008

Nancy Pearl Workshops in Minnesota!


Nancy Pearl – Improving Readers' Advisory Skills Workshop

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

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

Workshop Announcement Details – All Locations:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contact: Rebecca Patton,

Sponsored by: Minnesota Certification Program

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

March 3, 2008

Pew Report - Early Internet Adopters

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click here to read the report.

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:

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

February 27, 2008

Evaluating Web Content

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

February 22, 2008

Reaching Your Students Where They Are

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

Video: 9:31 min.

February 18, 2008

User Skills Improving, But Only Slightly

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

View the complete report.

Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox, February 4, 2008

State of the State

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please take a moment to check out these resources!

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

February 11, 2008

University of Minnesota Art Exhibits

From -- Deborah Boudewyns

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

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

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



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

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

February 1, 2008

Pew Report- Internet Searches that Solve Problems

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

January 31, 2008

Facebook application now available at

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.

Grassroots Group Grows Mini-SKILLs Bill in Washington State

- Excerpt from American Libraries online current news -

"Characterizing school library media specialists as “an endangered species,” Washington State Sen. Tracey J. Eide (D-Federal Way) introduced a bill January 22 that codifies through a per-pupil formula how many credentialed school library media specialists should be employed by each district and offers some $55 million to fund the initiative. Its aim of guaranteeing the presence in school libraries of certificated staff echoes the language of the federal SKILLs (Strengthening Kids’ Interest in Learning and Libraries) Act, introduced in June 2007 as an unfunded amendment to the No Child Left Behind Act and scheduled for Senate committee review in February."

Read the full article here.

Also read, complementary blog entry "Building True Advocacy for School Libraries" - January 25, 2008.

January 25, 2008

Building True Advocacy for School Libraries

If you haven't done so already, take some time to read Debra Kay Logan's article, "Putting Students First" in the January/February issue of American Libraries. This one is worth your time, attention, and discussion.

Logan passionately pursues an essential question, "When we talk about advocating for school libraries, what do we truly mean?" Moreover, she urges readers to think about this question from administrative and budgetary viewpoints. Logan states, "School libraries are traditionally seen as rooms with resources, with school librarians viewed as keepers of materials. Under this pretense, it's no wonder that libraries and librarians are sometimes thought of as expendable."

So, what do we do to effectively advocate for school libraries? Logan sums up our strategy by stating that we need to:

1.) Change the nature of our advocacy messages

"To become effective advocates, our profession must shift the focus of our messages from speaking out about school libraries to promoting and supporting student learning and achievement. Student success is the business of schools. Student learning is at the core of meaningful advocacy messages."

"We need to have stakeholders advocate for them, and it is our job to build this stakeholder support."

2.) Motivate stakeholders to advocate

"When research evidence is presented in isolation, listeners inevitably question the validity of research. Instead of simply sharing research studies, school librarians need to 'mash up' research findings with what we know about our specific programs."

3.) Mash up the data

"To start, we need to clearly and consistently articulate and highlight the research showing the connections between strong school library programs and student learning and success. This forms a firm foundation for stakeholder advocacy."

"Next, document the connection between research in the library and reading and writing standards as an integral part of the weekly lesson plans."

"When crafting an advocacy message, focus on specific and essential student needs..."

"Share evidence that ties research findings with what is happening in your school."

4.) Remember that it's all about the students

"All along we have known that school libraries play a critical and unique part in helping schools achieve their goals for students. However, our messages have sounded like school libraries and librarians are an ends, not means. It's time to adjust these messages and become advocates for students and student learning."

We want to know what you think of Logan's article. Post your comment here, on our blog. In what ways have you promoted your school library? Have you built stakeholder support? If so, how? Have you experienced success with your advocacy efforts?

Logan, Debra Kay. "Putting students first: we must change the focus of our messages from school libraries to student learning and achievement." American Libraries 39.1-2 (Jan-Feb 2008): 56(4). Professional Collection. Gale. MINITEX. 25 Jan. 2008

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 7, 2008

23 Things On a Stick Program to Launch in January


23 Things On a Stick Program to Launch in January

St. Paul, Minnesota (January 7, 2008)--Minnesota's seven multicounty, multitype library systems (multitypes) will launch a twelve-week 23 Things on a Stick: A Library Learning 2.0 Program online on January 20, 2008. Staff in academic, school, public and special libraries, as well as members of library Governing and Advisory Boards are invited to participate in this fun, self-paced program that encourages participants to experiment with various Web 2.0 tools including photo editing, wikis, blogs, RSS, and more. Those who complete all 23 Things on a Stick within twelve weeks will win a completion prize.

This program will be the focus of breakout sessions on January 28th at the MEMO Midwinter Conference in Alexandria, MN. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn more about the program and set up their blogs. It is not necessary to attend Midwinter to participate in 23 Things On a Stick. All details for participation and completion will be available online after January 20th at

Continue reading "23 Things On a Stick Program to Launch in January" »

December 14, 2007

A Nightmare or an Opportunity?

It is the second-most-visited education/reference site on the Internet, 400 million answers and searchable archives, natural language recognition – also dubbed “every middle school teacher’s worst nightmare about the Web.” What is it?!

Find out by reading our December issue of Reference Notes coming soon! Look for it here.

December 5, 2007

Your Life Work: The Librarian

Enjoy a ten minute break and a chuckle with this one! This short video is one installment in the "Your Life Work" series entitled, "The Librarian," from Vocational Guidance Films, Inc. produced in the 1940s.

December 3, 2007

Exhibits at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities Libraries

Online Exhibit from Plant Path - "Botanical Art of a Different Kind"
Highlighting botanical art in phytopathology from the Plant Pathology Library collection.
To see it, go to the Plant Pathology Library website:
and click on Online Exhibit: "Botanical Art of a Different Kind"

The World in the Libraries: International Collections
Periodicals and Government Publications Library (GPL), Basement Wilson Library
Through December 20

Art in the Libraries Exhibition
Music Library (70 Ferguson Hall) and Wilson Library
Through December 20

The Map that Named America, 1507-2007
James Ford Bell Library, 4th Floor Wilson Library
The Bell Library staff will be happy to schedule group and class--and holiday guest--tours during regular hours as well as evenings and weekends. Call Maggie or Lynnette at 624-1528, or send an e-mail to
Through December 31

Worlds Within: An Exhibit of Works of Fantasy from the Children's Literature Research Collections
Elmer L. Andersen Library Exhibit Gallery
Through January 2, 2008

Destination Shaanxi: Material Culture at the End of the Silk Road
Elmer L. Andersen Library, 2nd and 3rd floors
Through February 15, 2008

November 1, 2007

Faculty Blogoverse

A must read!

In College & Research Libraries News - October 2007:

Murray, David and Steven Bell. "Exploring the Faculty Blogoverse: Where to Start and What's in it for Academic Librarians." p. 576-579.

"A successful strategic keeping-up regimen requires more than a steady diet of content from within one's own profession.  To invigorate inspiration and ideation, it's of great value to go beyond the borders of one's own professional literature.  That is why every academic librarian's keeping-up strategy should include, for example, feeds from standard higher education sources (The Chronicle's Daily News, Inside Higher Ed, Wired Campus Blog, and other academia-related blogs from organizations, such as EDUCAUSE).  This article seeks to take academic librarians into a lesser explored territory, where vast potential lies for those willing to explore.  Too few of us have yet to discover the value of faculty blogs" (p. 576).

Murray and Bell succintly address what has drawn faculty and librarians alike to blogs and blogging, where to begin one's hunt to locate faculty blogs, the benefits of reading faculty blogs, and how to get started (e.g., a disciplinary focus to reading blogs).

Murray and Bell argue that two key values of reading faculty blogs point to an academic librarian's collection development and outreach/liaison responsibilities.

"Despite protests that keeping up already takes too much time, and that what time is available is hardly enough for adequate reading of the library literature, we argue that ignoring faculty blogs is something we do at our own professional risk" (p. 579).

Read the complete article here.

October 22, 2007

iLibrarian blog

If you haven't checked this blog out already, give it a look. It's kept by Ellyssa Kroski, Reference Librarian at Columbia University’s Butler Library. A recent post of hers is definitely worth your time to read, entitled "A Librarian’s Guide to Creating 2.0 Subject Guides." She discusses some new 2.0 technologies that librarians can use to create subject guides online. Read her post here!

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:

HTML Version:

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

October 1, 2007

MINITEX Website Survey

We have extended the duration of our Web site survey -- if you haven't already, please take a moment to let us know what you think of the MINITEX Web site's new layout and added features:

August 3, 2007

Minnesota Book Awards Author Event Program

From the
Minnesota Book Awards Coordinator
The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library

The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library is delighted to announce a new Minnesota Book Awards initiative made possible by a grant from the Minnesota Department of Education - Office of State Library Services. Effective immediately, Minnesota libraries and affiliated nonprofit library organizations are invited to apply for funding to host an author event or series featuring Minnesota Book Awards winners or finalists.

A total of $5,000 is available for author events occurring between September 1, 2007 and April 30, 2008. The maximum that may be requested for funding reimbursement by any one library or affiliated organization during this funding period is $500.

To apply, fill out the application form in pdf or word doc and return it by e-mail, fax, or mail. Applications are currently being accepted, and requests will be approved for organizations meeting all stated requirements on a first-come, first-serve basis. Review of applications will begin Friday, August 17, 2007. Interested organizations are encouraged to apply early!

To learn more about the Minnesota Book Awards Author Event Program click here. Organizations are encouraged to feature finalists or winners from the most recent Book Awards, although this isn't a requirement. A complete listing of winners and finalists from throughout the Book Awards' 19 year history is available on The Friends website.

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 or 1-800-462-5348 or 1-612-624-7873. 

July 12, 2007

MINITEX Reference Staff Participate as QuestionPoint Editors

MINITEX Reference Services staff, Beth Staats and Carla Steinberg Pfahl, have volunteered to be QuestionPoint editors of Global Knowledge Base records. There are a total of 25 editors nationwide working to edit an ongoing list of records of about 3000 question and answer pieces. These records need to be edited to delete out private information, extraneous information, and delete records that do not necessarily need to be in the Global Knowledge Base. Paula Rumbaugh from OCLC and Peter Armenti from Library of Congress were the only editors of the Global Knowledge Base but have realized that it has become a bit unwieldy and sent a message out for participation. The Global Knowledge Base is viewable by anyone and can be accessed via a library offering QuestionPoint Email and/or Chat reference. The Knowledge Base is also available to the public directly via OCLC from:

July 5, 2007

The Record Breaker


ALA Annual Conference 2007, Washington D.C. boasts a record breaker turnout of 28,635 people (21,466 registrants and 7,169 exhibitors). These numbers surpassed the previous ALA record of 27,962 people set in Chicago, 2005 and last year’s annual conference in New Orleans at 16,964. With over 300 sessions and programs, topics ranged from Web 2.0 technologies and applications to new perspectives on information literacy to library promotion and fundraising (“It's Official: ALA Conference Is a Record Breaker,” Library Journal: Academic Newswire, June 28, 2007).

Three noteworthy programs included a RUSA MARS Hot Topics Discussion Group Libraries2Go: Library Services for Handhelds, an ACRL Arts Section/Instruction Section program Eye to I: Visual Literacy Meets Information Literacy, and a Women’s Studies Section program Once Upon a FURL in a Podcast Long Ago: Using New Technologies to Support Library Instruction.

Continue reading "The Record Breaker" »

June 20, 2007

Wikis in plain English

Check out this YouTube video on creating wikis!

June 19, 2007

Research Libraries in the Age of Google

On Friday, June 15th, Anne Kenney, Interim University Librarian at Cornell University gave a one-hour talk on how academic libraries need to move forward in order to remain relevant in the years ahead.  Kenney began by discussing what the libraries are not.  Libraries are not, “the center of the information solar system,”librarians and users alike use free resources available outside the brick and motor building.  Libraries are not” the starting point for information inquiry.”  Google and other search engines have “transformed how we look at discovery.”  Libraries are also not the only “trusted kid on the block.”  Kenney directed the audience towards the 2005 OCLC report showed quantity and quality are what is valued when searching for information; “search engines ranked higher than librarians in this area” (  She also pointed out that today’s world is all about self-service and libraries are not easy to use.  She referred to the YouTube video by Penn State Libraries, which illustrates the hoops libraries make patrons jump through to find periodicals (  



Continue reading "Research Libraries in the Age of Google" »

June 13, 2007

AL Focus

Check out AL Focus - the video home of ALA's American Libraries!

First, enjoy their video, WHEEL OF CONFUSION

Hill Reference Library Closes Railroad Magnate’s Archive

This from American Libraries Direct:

"After more than 30 years of owning the personal papers of railroad magnate James J. Hill (1838–1916), the James J. Hill Reference Library is looking for a new home for them. The private business reference library in Saint Paul, Minnesota, closed the archive June 1 after announcing that it no longer matched the library’s mission of providing practical information to the global business community...."

Read more....

May 16, 2007

Teleconferences - Check it out!

I have attended a number of College of DuPage teleconferences sponsored by MINITEX this past year. Each teleconference has been thought-provoking, challenging, and great material for discussions. Some of them have been in an interview format of one or two librarians while others have had several guest panelists addressing particular topics, issues, or challenges in today's libraries.

The interviews have included Steven Bell, Director of the Paul J. Gutman Library, Philadelphia University and Aaron Schmidt commenting on new Web 2.0 technologies and their possible library applications and challenges. Another outstanding teleconference was an interview of Rachel Singer Gordon author of The NextGen Librarian's Survival Guide in which she presented a very balanced approach to the popular current issue of generational perspectives in the library workplace.

The panels have wrestled with charged issues such as the state of library education, professional development, and certification as well as library relevance in the digital age.

If you have not been able to attend these teleconferences in person, please check out the desktop streaming opportunities and borrowing past teleconferences on VHS tape to share with your colleagues. These are bound to inspire and spark good discussion in your own library.



From Calisphere:

"Calisphere is the University of California's free public gateway to a world of primary sources. More than 150,000 digitized items — including photographs, documents, newspaper pages, political cartoons, works of art, diaries, transcribed oral histories, advertising, and other unique cultural artifacts — reveal the diverse history and culture of California and its role in national and world history. Calisphere's content has been selected from the libraries and museums of the UC campuses, and from a variety of cultural heritage organizations.

Calisphere is a public service project of the California Digital Library (CDL). Through the use of technology and innovation, the CDL supports the assembly and creative use of scholarship for the UC libraries and the communities they serve. Learn more about the CDL."

May 10, 2007

Learning 2.0

Recently on the ILI-listerv (ACRL's Instruction Section Information Literacy Instruction Discussion List) a discussion thread has been started on ways to deliver staff training for libraries on topics such as Web 2.0.

One of the members responded by pointing to an online resource called "Learning 2.0." It is a resource that can be customized and tailored to your own institution. The right-hand column provides links to other libraries doing the Learning 2.0 program.

May 9, 2007


Wow! This is a terrific video "starring" Vermont librarian, Jessamyn West. It shows her installing "Ubuntu" to two computers that were donated to The Calef Library in Washington, Vermont. Ubuntu comes bundled with Open Source software such as OpenOffice, Gimp (like Photoshop), Firefox, and Gaim (Instant Messenger). This is a great work-around for those who do not want to or cannot purchase various software programs. Check it out!

May 4, 2007

More Tutorials!

These two tutorials are at the top of my list for content and delivery. Check it out!

Plagiarism tutorial from Paul Robeson Library of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey:

CLUE - from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries (a tutorial to orient the student to UW-Madison Libraries and college level research tools and strategies):

Outstanding Tutorial on Business Research

Check out this outstanding tutorial!!

From the ILI-L listserv:

The Peer-Reviewed Instructional Materials Online (PRIMO) Committee of
the Instruction Section of ACRL announces its site of the month for February 2007.

To read the full interview and browse the archive of previous profiles, please see

*** PRIMO Site of the Month Interview, February 2007 ***

A Beginner's Guide to Business Research

Author: Louise Klusek
Institution: Baruch College, The City University of New York

Interviewer: Britt Fagerheim

Description: A Beginner's Guide to Business Research is an e-learning
module designed specifically for students doing company research for the
first time. This module is a required information literacy component of
Introduction to Business, a 1000-level course required of all students
intending to major in business at Baruch College. The Guide covers two
major sources of information: company websites (including annual
reports, 10-K filings, webcasts and press releases) and business
databases for news, company profiles, histories and up-to-date stock

April 18, 2007

Are Reference Desks Dying Out?

There's an interesting article from the Chronicle of Higher Ed discussing the need for the reference desk and the value of face-to-face interaction. The article is very interesting in that it brings up many different points of views and stronly advocating outreach to the patron, be it online, via text message on the phone, or in the coffee shop (still, face to face).

This has generated a lot of discussion on the DigRef listserv with varying degress of responses. Most librarians agree that we need to be there for patrons/students and all points of need, not just online (the most convenient). But face to face should not be necessarily be thought of as the reference desk. There are many other types of face to face reference transactions that take place. It's interesting to here about some of the libraries that have already done away with the reference desk but I would interested to find out if any of them have kept or transitioned to an information desk and have monitored, at all, for the need of face to face or reference desk at-the point/time-of need-service.

What are your thoughts about this?

April 11, 2007

MELSA video

Take a look at the newest MELSA promotion… 19 minute production for public television. First aired this past Saturday night.

From the following site, look under the “Backstage” category and choose… “Beyond Books.”

April 9, 2007

2006 Minnesota Internet Study shows broadband has become mainstream

The Center's latest annual telecommunications report, "The 2006 Minnesota Internet Study," estimates that home broadband adoption accelerated significantly across the state in 2006, even while home computer ownership and Internet connectivity inched up only slightly. The report estimates that at the end of 2006 68.7 percent of all Minnesota households owned at least one working computer (compared to 68% in 2005) and 63.5 percent of households maintained a home Internet connection (59.6% in 2005), but broadband adoption increased to 49 percent of all households, compared to 37 percent in 2005.

April 3, 2007


BALTIMORE - The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) unveiled its Top Ten Assumptions for the future of academic and research libraries today during the ACRL's 13th National Conference held March 29 to April 1 in Baltimore.

The ACRL Research Committee developed the top ten assumptions after surveying member leaders and conducting a literature review. A panel representing community and liberal arts colleges, research university libraries, as well as an observer of the higher education environment reacted and commented upon the assumptions at the ACRL National Conference.

A podcast featuring Snelson and Mullins discussing the top ten assumptions is available at Read more by Mullins and committee members in the April issue of College & Research Libraries News at


March 20, 2007

ACRL offering Webcast on Combating Plagiarism

From ACRL:

The Role of the Librarian in Combating Student Plagiarism

Webcast Date: April 16, 2007

Webcast Time: 11:00 a.m. Pacific, 1:00 p.m. Central, 2:00 p.m. Eastern

This 1.5-hour Webcast from ACRL explores the role of the academic librarian in combating student plagiarism, the "culture of copy" that our students inhabit and why plagiarism poses problems for higher education professionals including academic librarians, why use of discipline based approaches helps combat plagiarism effectively, how to design effective information literacy session assignments to help students understand how they can avoid plagiarism, and more.

Lynn Lampert, coordinator of information literacy and instruction at California State University-Northridge will lead this Webcast, which is based on her half-day 2006 Midwinter ACRL preconference, "Combating the Culture of Copy: Information Literacy Interventions for Plagiarism."

Registration is limited to 60. ACRL and ALA members receive a registration discount. For complete information, including a link to registration, go to:

February 23, 2007

An Inconvenient Truth

A documentary not only worth seeing but also a must have for your collections!


An Inconvenient Truth (2006)
with Al Gore, directed by Davis Guggenheim

From IMDB:
A documentary on Al Gore's campaign to make the issue of global warming a recognized problem worldwide.

"In 39 years, I have never written these words in a movie review, but here they are: You owe it to yourself to see this film. If you do not, and you have grandchildren, you should explain to them why you decided not to." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

"In the movie he is merely excellent. But in person…he presents a combination of intellectual force, emotional vibrancy and moral urgency that has hardly been seen in American public life in recent years." - David Denby, The New Yorker

"one of the most important films ever." - Larry King

"[Al Gore] he is not only forcing us to confront the problem, he is also looking for realistic solutions ... [Gore] firmly believes that environmental responsibility and economic prosperity are not mutually exclusive." - Amanda Gefter, New Scientist

"I was skeptical that Al Gore was really going to change how I thought about global warming. I was wrong. I now believe that An Inconvenient Truth is the most important film that anyone will see this year. We have become accustomed to hearing about global warming in a muted, disconnected way ... but at last someone has marshalled all the fragments of information and woven it into a single, breathtaking whole. ... we can only comprehend global warming if we take the widest possible view, and we can't access that viewpoint while wearing party-political blinders."
- Dave Hoskin, Metro

Minnesota Population Center

Check out this public resource!

From the MPC:

The Minnesota Population Center (MPC) is a University-wide interdisciplinary cooperative for demographic research. The MPC serves sixty faculty members and research associates from ten colleges and nineteen departments at the University of Minnesota, and employs nearly a hundred research support staff, including computer programmers and technicians, administrative staff, research assistants, and data-entry staff. As a leading developer and disseminator of demographic data, we also serve a broader audience of some 6,000 demographic researchers worldwide.

Spring forward with RUSA online courses

From RUSA:

The Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) offers participants the opportunity to focus on their professional growth this spring by registering for one of the following Internet-based continuing education courses:

Business Reference 101
February 12 - March 9, 2007 and April 30 - May 25, 2007

A business reference course for library staff and researchers that teaches the process of business research and about both free and fee-based resources.

Marketing Basics for Library

April 3 - May 4, 2007

A new RUSA online course designed as an introduction to marketing, which focuses on the uses of marketing and explains basic marketing tenets using the framework of libraries. A course project will involve students creating a marketing plan for a library.

Reference Interview
March 12 - April 6, 2007

This course focuses on the methods of evaluating reference service, behavioral aspects of reference service, and the different types of questions that can be used to help patrons identify what they need. The courses provide social interaction during scheduled chat sessions with the instructor and other students, which allows students in the United States and overseas to share information and ideas on practices used in their organization, state or country.

**The registration prices for a course is $130 for RUSA members, $160 for ALA members, $190 for non-ALA members and $100 for students and retirees. For more information or to register, visit:

RUSA, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), is a leading association for reference and user services professionals. To learn more about RUSA, visit

February 13, 2007


WebJunction Minnesota has a brand new look!

Check it out at:

October 2, 2006

Name change

FYI- Kristen Meyer has changed her name to Kristen Mastel. Her e-mail and phone number will remain the same.

August 25, 2006

What, When Why, How of Reference Referral

MINITEX offers extensive reference and referral services to help you find answers to your questions on any topic, and when we say any topic, we mean it!

Continue reading "What, When Why, How of Reference Referral" »

June 22, 2006

Welcome new staff

Welcome the three newbies! (left to right) Carla Pfahl (returnie), Kristen Mastel and Jennifer Hootman!