Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Public Libraries as a Nuclear Threat?

Here is an article from msnbc about news staff secretly videotaping themselves retrieving government documents from public libraries. Here is a quick response from LIS News.

Luckily for us, I checked our catalog and we apparently do not hold any of these documents. Nothing we had before 2001 seemed to be of interest unless you were interested in the NRC's fee schedule or their involvement with the EPA about a radiological survey of sewage sludge.

Although, now that I think about it, I would be extremely terrorized if someone unleashed a serious amount of radioactive sewage sludge in my city. But now I'm just giving ideas to the bad guys...

Monday, November 27, 2006

Another Library Search Engine

LibWormLibworm is another search engine devoted solely to library-related blogs feeds. The main difference between this one and the other library search engine I wrote about is that LibWorm offers RSS feeds of searches.

So, if you are interested in a certain topic and you want to know when someone in the library world blogs about it, perform a search and subscribe to it. You will be notified when a new result appears.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Commercial Appeal Job Listings and Yahoo!

Yahoo hotjobsIt was announced in yesterday's Commercial Appeal (registration required) that they (and 150 other cities) are teaming with Yahoo! to sell classified advertising. The biggest impact of this agreement is that all Commercial Appeal job listings will appear in Yahoo's HotJobs service.

Currently, all Commercial Appeal job listings appear in CareerBuilder, but listings will be moved to HotJobs next month.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Series Searching

ILS Series Mitford The Memphis Reads blog talks about a series searching tool in their latest post.

That reminded me of a feature of Sirsi Unicorn (the new ILS's version of Circle). An advanced search option allows you to search the catalog for Series. For example, type in Mitford in the Series text box. Click on Search. Your results will show all books in that series.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Outlook Web Access Mailbox Over the Size Limit?

This is for you OWA folks out there. If you receive a message that you have exceeded your mailbox limit, then you need to do a few things to get your mailbox under control.

While Outlook 2003 folks have a built-in tool to help them do this, OWA does not have this functionality. However, there are a few actions you can take to quickly lower the size of your mailbox.

Since I am loving this new SlideShare tool, take a look at this slide show to find out what those actions are:

Thursday, November 16, 2006

I Wonder if a Librarian has Reviewed This Book?

RevoogleIf you ever find yourself asking the above question, well, first you would want to check our very own Memphis Reads blog.

If you don't find a review there that you need, well, one, you may consider creating one yourself.

Or, two, you can see if another librarian has done a review. Enter the Librarian's Book Revoogle.

This is another Google Co-op tool that was used to make the LISZen Search Engine that I wrote about here.

The Librarian's Book Revoogle allows you to search numerous book review blogs by librarians. And, yes, the Memphis Reads blog is included.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

MapLib Google Map Mash-Up Test

I'm testing a new tool, This allows you to create your own Google Map; however it doesn't have to be a map per se. You can upload any image. Then, you can add markers with descriptions at various points, just like on Google Maps.

Then you can embed the map in your blog. Let's see if this works. I have created a "map" of a screen shot of our future ILS. I added several markers that explain the process of searching for a periodical.

Formatting MS Word Templates with Styles

I have written about Resume Template Styles before, but this is a hard concept to understand through text alone. Therefore, I made this quick visual description:

Which Engine Should I Use Today?

Phil Bradley has an excellent resource that poses various search-scenarios and offers you the best tools to complete that search.

Click here to see it in action.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Find Books Totally Different Than the Books You Hate

LibraryThingHere is a unique reader's advisory tool that LibraryThing offers (what is LibraryThing?)

It is called Unsuggester. Here is LibraryThing's description:

It analyzes the seven million books LibraryThing members have recorded as owned or read, and comes back with books least likely to share a library with the book you suggest.

This could be used two ways. 1) If a customer really needs to shake things up, they have lost all inspiration in their current readings, and they want something new, enter a book they have read recently into Unsuggester. 2) If you know of a book that is totally something you would never read, ever, enter it into Unsuggester.

Unsuggester will then return books that are completely different from the book you searched for.


Of course, Library Thing offers a Suggester, too.

Found via Stephen's Lighthouse.

Resume Pre-Survey

Participants for Wednesday's Resume class, please click here to take survey.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Bloglines Presentation for Managers, Nov. 9

Here is the slide show for the presentation at the Manager's Meeting for November 9.

Additional assistance in getting started using can be obtained by viewing the Bloglines Video Series.

If You Want to Help Your Customers with the Rosetta Stone Database, Then You Need to Read this Post

Rosetta StoneOne of the many databases we offer to the public is Rosetta Stone, a tool that provides audio and visual elements in order to teach foreign languages. The beauty of this program, since it is audio and visually based, is that pretty much anyone (no matter what language they speak) can use it to learn another language.

For example, to navigate through the program, you never really encounter specific words to perform functions. If you want to exit a particular part of the program, you click on the picture of someone parachuting (they're bailing out!). The reasoning behind this is that anyone across numerous cultures can eventually understand that the parachuter is the Exit button. This is confusing at first, but you eventually get the hang of it.

There are a few things to note about our Rosetta Stone subscription:

  • While Rosetta Stone offers several introductory lessons for each language, the main purpose for our subscription is to provide an English as a Second Language service. Therefore, you will notice that ALL lessons for English are offered, compared to 2 or 3 for all the other languages.
  • Another important note, found on the Library Databases page under Rosetta Stone's description, is that "the program is available in the Humanities Department at Central Library, the East Shelby, Parkway Village, Raleigh, and Randolph branches, and the InfoBus." Rosetta Stone requires Shockwave 10.1. Previously, it required only Shockwave 10.0. Automated Services technicians upgraded all public computers to Shockwave 10.0. The Rosetta Stone database promptly upgraded the requirements.
  • Access to MPLIC's Rosetta Stone subscription requires a library card. However, the free version of Rosetta Stone is available on their website (no library card required). The only difference is that MPLIC's subscription has ALL English lessons (as noted above). Therefore, if someone who speaks English wants to use it to learn French, then they really do not need to access it through our databases.
Rosetta Stone is a fun tool. If you would like to learn more, read this training handout and give it a whirl.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Sunday Service Tech Assistance

I worked in LINC yesterday so let me pass on the type of assistance I provided.

I helped a customer arrange their paper according to their teacher's specifics. This involved changing the margins to 1" all around (covered in our How Do I Format My Document? class) . Then we had to access the Header so that the customer could insert their last name and a page number. This had to be aligned to the right so I got to show them how to set a right-aligned tab (covered in our What's Up with Bullets, Numbers, and Tabs? class).

Another customer called me over in a panic because all of his page numbers he had inserted in the Footer had disappeared. I noticed his View setting was on Web Layout. This view setting does not show Footers and Headers. You always want the View setting in Word to be Print Layout. Once I changed the View setting (via the View menu), the page numbers re-appeared (not that they disappeared. They just were not being displayed). View settings are covered in our What's Wrong with My Document? class.

I helped numerous customers copy and paste from the Web. These customers were familiar with the process but they were used to accessing the copy and paste functions from right-clicking. I explained that right-clicking is disabled, then showed them how to access those same functions from the Edit menu (also from What's Wrong with My Document?).

Another customer approached me because the printer was Off Line. I quickly fixed the problem by following the instructions I described in this past post.

One customer had sent about 10 print jobs to the print station over the course of two hours. Her print jobs were scattered across the queue, yet she asked me how much it was going to cost. By following the instructions I described in this past post, I quickly showed her how she could have the print station total the amount for her. She had enough money on the card and since all print jobs were already selected, one click on the Print button was all that was needed to print all 10 print jobs.

One customer wanted to print a small section of a 5 page document. We accessed the Print Preview and found the page with the content she needed. Then I showed her how to print that one specific page (explained on step 3 in this document that should be displayed somewhere in your library).

So, I always try to keep an eye out for new training topic opportunities when I work on Sundays, but it appears that our current training topics are right on the money.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Tag Clouds

Tag CloudI have mentioned tagging before, but I haven't really discussed a "tag cloud".

Tagging allows users to give something a subject heading, whether it is a video, picture, book, whatever. On the sidebar, you will see a tag cloud of various articles that I have found on some topics, ranging from "trainingstaff" to "wikipedia". The larger the word, the more articles under that topic.

A tag cloud does not necessarily have to be associated with a tag (or subject heading). Sometimes a tag cloud can be created by the words in a speech or a book. For example, here is a site that produces a tag cloud of the 100 most used words in major Presidential speeches from John Adams to now. This quickly gives you an idea as to what was important to these Presidents at the time of their speech.

Also, a long time ago, I wrote about the Amazon Concordance tool that does the same thing with books. You can quickly decipher what a book is about and who the main characters are by simply looking at a group of words in various size.

The alternate to tag clouds is something like my Index on the sidebar. This lists the various subject headings with numbers next to them, the numbers being the amount of posts about a topic. This is fine for a small list, but a larger list would leave you scanning back and forth looking at various numbers and memorizing their priority.

Or, you could arrange your topics by the amount, but then you lose the alphabetical order that allows you to easily scan all topics.

The tag cloud allows you to quickly see all topics in alphabetical order while at the same time giving you an idea as to what topics are more important.

Search for the Format You Want

Google Format Someone recently passed on a Google search tip that could be useful when creating a quick First Responder display. This tip could also be useful for customers wanting to print something basic on a broad topic. For example, you would like to display a fact sheet and some of your books about Manatees. You need to find something that can be printed quickly and easily.

We all know the Web is not the best format to print from, but the Web also holds many PDFs. PDFs are wonderful in that the documents remain the same no matter what computer you are on, hence the name Portable Document Format. For example, if the IRS did not use PDFs for their tax forms, different computers would arrange the text in different ways. Not what the IRS wants. So whenever people want to place their documents online and they also want to ensure that the format of those documents is not changed, they will place them online as PDFs.

To perform a search from Google for only PDFs, click on Advanced Search. Enter your search terms in the first text box. Then, about the sixth line down, you will see File Format with a text box that lists several different file formats. Select Adobe Acrobat PDF. Your search results will return PDF files only. These are all files that are "ready to print".

Blog, Wiki, Aggregator Training for MALC

Aggregator Benefit Last week, Damone and I conducted a training on blogs, wikis, and aggregators for the Memphis Area Library Council. Participants did not receive a paper handout for the training. They did receive access to a wiki and a blog that explains everything we covered in the class and more.

Using a wiki to explain a wiki, and using a blog to explain a blog just reinforced the material. Participants also had a chance to add content to the wiki and create their own blog posts (We used "pre-made" training blogs that participants could use in the class).

We then had everyone log into "pre-made" training aggregators so that they could see how easy it is to subscribe to web feeds.

One of my favorite moments of the training was showing a table that explained the difference between a blog and a wiki. I had added that table from a presentation at the Internet Librarian 2006 conference that was still going on at the time of our training. (I just recently wrote about these conference bloggers)

Through blogs, information that was shared in a conference in Monterey just the day before, was now being shared with the participants of this training. Also, since our "handout" was a wiki, I was able to add the content quickly. Had we used a paper handout, I would have been able to mention the new content, but I would not have been able to add it to the handout as we would have been required to turn in our final copy about three weeks before the training.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Computer Frozen???

ComputerSo, you have been working on a Word document for the past hour and suddenly, your computer freezes. What do you do? Perhaps you have more than one program running and perhaps that other program is the one that is causing problems. If we could find a way to close that program, you could possibly avoid losing all of your work.

How do you do that? Well, it's time to give the computer the old "Three Finger Salute" (no not the one finger salute. That accomplishes nothing substantial and probably gives you some negative karma in the computer world). The three finger salute is also known as pressing CTRL+ALT+DELETE on the keyboard.

This brings up the Windows Security window which has six buttons. Click on the Task Manager button. You will see another window that lists the name of all the open programs. This also lists the Status. The status will either say Running or Not Responding.

Click on the program that says Not Responding and click on End Task. Hopefully the program causing problems is not the one you are working on.

Once you have ended the problematic program, you should begin experiencing a smoother operation.

P.S. One of life's complexities... the computer froze when I finished typing the first version of this blog post. I lost everything and had to re-type. It was the first time that had ever happened to me when blogging.

Pre-Training Survey

Attendees of today's What's Wrong with My Document?! class, please follow this link and complete the quick survey:

Click here to take survey.