Friday, March 31, 2006

Librarians Celebrate. I Have a New Index!!!!

In hopes of making it easier for folks to find previously posted topics, I have developed a new index system.

Before, I had to add a new link to the sidebar, so for every entry in the blog, you would see a new link. After a while, that index system would become too unwieldy.

Therefore, I created a account specifically for indexing my blog (another use of this website that I have previously written about not once, but twice now.)

So now, on the sidebar under the Index to Tips, you will see a link Categories by If you click on that you will be taken to this page. The main part of the page lists every post that has been posted on my blog, but the kicker is on the right. The right sidebar has all of the categories that you can click on.

You will also see some Options under all the categories. These options are best set this way:

  1. View as list
  2. Sort by alpha
  3. Show bundles
  4. Use minimum: 1
Let me know if you have any questions. Or, hey, send a comment. It's easy. . .and fun, and a great way to share information with everyone. . .

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Missing the A: Drive Shortcut???

UPDATE: Please see this post about accessing files off of other drives.

Well, Automated Services is in the process of adding the A: Drive shortcuts that are needed on the desktops of public access computers.

This will allow customers to view files on their floppy disks that are NOT Word, Excel, or other MS Office programs that have desktop shortcuts.

For example, if a customer has a PDF saved to their floppy, they currently do not have an obvious way to access that file. While all public computers do have Adobe Acrobat, the customer cannot access that program from the desktop. If an A: Drive Shortcut were available, the customer could access the PDF on their floppy disk and the computer would automatically use the best software program available to open the file (whether it has a shortcut on the desktop or not)

This applies to pictures as well.

So what do we do in the meantime? If your agency has computers with no A: Drive shortcuts, then you can follow this work-around for the time being.

NOTE: Outdated Instructions Removed.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Share Your Successes with the World via Wiki

With much talk about blogs, I am going to shift gears and talk about Wikis. How can they be useful? Take a look at THE library wiki, Library Success. By definition, a wiki is a type of website in which anyone can add and edit content. Library Success is tailored to librarians. If some library is successful with an activity, they can add their story to the wiki. Other libraries can then use the knowledge they gained.

Let's try this. Say you are wanting to create a new program for your agency. You go to the Library Success wiki and you see the category, Programming. You click on that and you see several subcategories, Book Clubs for Adults, Gaming, Technology Training in Libraries, and many, many more.

Under each category, you can read about methods, resources, etc. that other libraries used. Or, if you had a successful program, add an article about your methods and resources you used. Sharing knowledge will benefit everyone.

This wiki is still young, but look for it to grow quickly.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Adding Pictures to MyBrochureMaker Website

By now, many of you have tried the site

Now you are ready to add your own pictures. Unfortunately, you cannot copy and paste pictures into the brochure. You have to go through an upload process. If you know how to add an attachment to an email, then you should be able to do this easily.

  1. First, you will need to save a picture onto the computer. If you place your pointer on top of any picture on the web, some buttons should appear.
  2. One of those buttons is the Save button (it looks like a floppy disk). Click on that button and a Save As window will appear. Notice that it automatically wants to save to the My Pictures folder.
  3. Save the picture to the My Pictures folder.
  4. Now we can insert that picture into the brochure. After you select your theme, you can edit the inside our outside.
  5. If you click on one of the pictures, the menu on the right will change.
  6. You will see the option to Replace Photo With My Own. Click on that.
  7. A new window will appear and you will see a Browse. . . button. Click on that button and the Open window will appear.
  8. Notice that it automatically opens to the My Pictures folder. You should see the picture that you just saved.
  9. Double-click on the picture. The Open window will disappear.
  10. Now you can click on Upload Photo. This is much like adding an attachment to an email.

You can transfer these skills to many other situations. Sometimes, the customer may have a picture already saved on a floppy disk or flash drive. When you upload, just change the location from the My Pictures folder to their disk or drive.

Monday, March 20, 2006

MyLanguage - Computer Information in Other Languages

Australian librarians have developed a useful site called MyLanguage.

Follow this link to the page that lists links to an Internet Basics handout in various languages.

Each language has a PDF document, while some languages have links to other sites in addition to the PDF document.

I came across this information while reading a post from the blog

So give your Aussie counterparts a goodonyermate!

Friday, March 17, 2006

More on

So, I wrote earlier about the favorites website, I just wanted to talk about another use of this website.

I will be part of a panel discussion for a TLA pre-conference. The title of our presentation is Meeting the Needs of Diverse Populations. I will talk about the ways Memphis Public Library & Information Center bridges the digital divide.

I refer to several reports in the presentation, and at the end, I will send them to this website:

This website has links to the various reports I refer to throughout the presentation. Many times, websites can be extremely long. People may not want to type in those lengthy URLs. However, by creating a account specifically for this presentation, I can refer people to one address and they can click on the reports they want and receive them instantaneously.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Toward Equality of Access Report

In our Library Computers: When a Customer Asks. . . training, we go over a few stats taken from a Gates Foundation report titled Toward Equality of Access. Follow the link to the PDF version of this report. It is a nice reminder whenever the computer questions start wearing you down.

Here is a synopsis taken from the report:

Drawing from government statistics and independent research, the report finds widespread acceptance of library-based computer and Internet access from patrons and librarians. But more importantly, the report finds that public access computing is benefiting those socioeconomic groups with the greatest need.

However, the report also notes urgent—but manageable— challenges facing libraries as they seek to maintain and further develop their role in providing access to digital information. This valued public service can only be sustained by the continued support of policymakers, librarians, and community advocates.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Saving PDFs

Someone recently asked if a customer could save a PDF to a floppy disk or flash drive.

The answer is Yes.

One snafu. When I tried this on a public computer, I first went to the File menu. Save and Save As were not available. Therefore I clicked on the Save button on the Adobe toolbar (the Save button looks like a floppy disk or a TV set, depending on which era you live in).

The Save As window appears and they can select their disk or drive (note: access is denied to the desktop).

Brochure Help

In our Library Computers: When a Customer Asks. . . training, we explain how to set up a Word document so that a customer can begin creating a brochure.

There is another option:

It is very intuitive. You select the theme of your brochure. Then you edit your brochure by adding text into the preset text boxes. Customers can even replace the pictures in the document by following an upload process (pictures must be saved to a disk. No copying and pasting).

It is a bit peculiar to Save a brochure. Since this process is web-based, you cannot convert it to Word and you cannot save it to a disk. In order to save, a customer is required to enter their email address and agree to their terms (terms are basically that they will not upload indecent pictures or pictures that they do not have the right to use.)

A link to the web page that contains their brochure is then emailed to them (fairly quickly when I tried).

In all, this is an ideal way to create a quick and high-quality brochure.

NOTE: Since creating a brochure involves double-sided printing, the customers will need to print their brochure on two separate pages. Then they will need to take that to a copy shop to make a double-sided copy.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

ILS Preparation: Why Wait?

The new ILS will come with extensive training. However, there are things we can begin doing now to prepare ourselves for this transition.

Take a look at this post on the ILS blog from February 8.

Pay special attention to the Software section. Words like "Unicorn", "Workflows", and "Enterprise Portal System or EPS" will replace words we currently use such as "Circle", "IG", "Web Catalog".

This post has links to descriptions of these components which then lead to other pdf documents that go into further detail.

So, as hard as it may seem, start taking a few spare moments here and there to begin reading about your new ILS. Much of it may not make sense, but keep reading.

While, yes, the training for the new ILS will be extensive, preparing ourselves now is vital to a successful transition.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Word: When a Customer Asks. . . Series of Trainings

Today (March 8), we had the first installment of the new series of trainings for Microsoft Word. The training was How Do I Format My Document?

All trainings are one hour long. Since we focused on just one aspect (formatting) I was able to explain some very detailed and complex formatting practices such as:

  • Adding space in between your paragraphs
  • Adding space in between the individual characters
  • Adding space in between the individual lines of a paragraph
  • Adding complex character formatting such as strikethroughs or shadows.

I was hoping to cover tabs, bullets and numbers, too, but it is apparent that they need their own hour. Therefore, the class What's Up with Bullets, Numbers and Tabs? will be added to the mix. It will be offered March 29, 9-10am.

For more information on the training series, read this copy of the original training announcement sent February 7:

Following the success of the Library Computers: When a Customer Asks. . ., Staff Development introduces a new series of trainings. The new series is called Microsoft Word: When a Customer Asks. . . and consists of multiple-frequent-one-hour training sessions that will focus on one aspect of MS Word.

This arrangement allows for staff to attend only the sections that they are interested in. Each section is specifically aimed at a frequently asked question from customers. The shorter classes will also be easier for scheduling staff away from their agency.

Many of these trainings were included in the Library Computers training; however, we were only able to spend a limited time on these topics. If you found yourself wanting more, now is the chance.

Below are the dates and times that these trainings will be offered. Confer with your manager/supervisor and pick and choose the ones you want to attend. Contact Cynthia to register.

How Do I Format My Document?
Staff will learn the basics of formatting MS Word documents. This includes character and paragraph formatting as well as changing the page setup.

Wednesday March 8 9-10am
Thursday May 18 2-3pm

What's Wrong with My Document?
Staff will learn how to assist customers with common MS Word errors.

Wednesday March 22 9-10am
Thursday May 25 2-3pm

How Do I Customize a Resume Template?
Staff will learn how to work with tables in MS Word so that customers' questions regarding resume templates can be answered quickly.

Wednesday April 19 9-10am
Thursday June 1 2-3pm

How Do I Make a Brochure and How Do I Insert Pictures?
Staff will learn how to work with columns in MS Word so that customers' questions regarding brochures can be answered quickly. Staff will also learn how to insert and customize pictures in MS Word documents.

Wednesday April 26 9-10am
Thursday June 8 2-3pm

How Do I Create a Chart or Graph?
Staff will learn how to insert data into a MS Excel spreadsheet so that a chart or graph can be created. These charts and graphs can then be pasted into MS Word documents.

Wednesday May 10 9-10am
Thursday June 15 2-3pm

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Internet: Favorites Website

Does your agency have a list of favorite websites? Chances are, you may have added some of them to the Favorites menu on your Internet Explorer. But there is a problem. You can only access those Favorites from that computer.

You could go through some complicated process in which you export your favorites to a floppy disk and then import them to all the other computers. But that would be too time consuming and hard to update.

Fortunately, there is a website for this problem. It is Weird address, I know, but it works. Registration is easy and free.

Once registered, you can create your list of websites that you like to use. Then, no matter what computer you are on, just go to your website to access your favorites. Your website would be (so make sure your username is easy to remember for everyone at your agency). Arrange your favorites in alphabetical order or by frequency of use.

You can also search for other links that others have created. This is a social bookmarking site, so part of creating a link is giving it a tag (or subject heading). You can use this site to search for links that others have found useful. This is an alternative to automated search engines.

Internet: Web Feeds and Aggregators

Aggregators or Feed Readers such as or are necessary to take advantage of a feature on the web that is gaining momentum. This feature is called the web feed. With an aggregator, people can subscribe to web feeds. In the future, they only need to go to their aggregator to find all the new articles that have been posted to their subscribed feeds. Once limited to blogs and such, web feeds are spreading to many types of web pages.

For example, the new ILS will have a feature that allows customers with aggregators to subscribe to a specific catalog search. If someone really likes a certain author like James Patterson, they can subscribe to that catalog search and their aggregator will notify them when a new article (or book) is added.

You will know if a website is a web feed if it has a little button that says either RSS, XML, or ATOM. Registering for an aggregator is as simple as registering for email. And it is free.

Scan the Hennepin County Library site for an example. See the page that lists all the available RSS Feeds on their site.

Try this article from the Boston Globe.

Outlook Web Access: AOL problems

Someone recently asked me why they could not access their Outlook Web Access (OWA) account at home using their AOL.

I did some research and found out that other folks have the same problem. It appears that the built-in AOL browser that comes with your AOL account does not work well with OWA.

Here is the solution:

  1. Log into your AOL account (you should have your AOL browser up and running). This will open up the internet connection.
  2. Minimize the AOL browser (do not close it). This will keep the internet connection up and running.
  3. Open Internet Explorer (chances are, your computer has that program installed).
  4. Log into your OWA account. The best way to do that is to go to and use the drop down menu.

Here is a link to a google search result that lets you know how many people have the same problem.

As I do not have AOL, I cannot test this. If any of you AOL users out there have experienced the same thing, let me know if this solution works.

Word: Page Border Printing Problems

Someone recently asked this question: Whenever I add a page border in Microsoft Word, the printer always cuts off the bottom border. How can I avoid that?

Well, I did some research and found out the best way to avoid that problem.

  1. Go to File>Page Setup. A dialog box will appear that consists of three tabs (Margins, Paper, and Layout).
  2. Click on the Paper tab.
  3. You will notice that the paper size is 8 1/2" X 11".
  4. Change the paper height to 10.8" or less if needed.

Your page border will now appear when you print. Basically, you told Word that your page is shorter than 11" so the border moves up into the printable area.

Here is a link to Microsoft's suggestions.