1. Blogging & Registering | 23 Mobile Things

23 Mobile Things by the Minnesota Multitype Multicounty Library Systems

23 Mobile Things by the Minnesota Multitype Multicounty Library Systems

1. Blogging & Registering.

I am deeply appreciative to the Minnesota Multitype Multicounty Library Systems for facilitating this shared learning experience for librarians across the State. The shift in technology from desktop to mobile computing is permeating a larger portion of our communities and this is a very timely opportunity to get a better grasp of specific applications and a general knowledge of this important trend.

While I have some experience with applications I use on a personal basis, I want to learn more about mobile tools that can be used professionally.

As a side note, the blog I chose to use is on WordPress, which is on the same platform as the 23 Moblie Things website. It was a pleasant surprise to learn that the “Press This” button on the bottom of each post allows me to quickly post each of the Things on my own blog.

What better way to learn than with a bunch of librarians and kindred spirits!

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Open Source Software Introduction

You may have heard the term open source mentioned many times but are wondering what it really means.  Karen Schneider from Equinox,  the software company that supports the open source ILS Evergreen, presented an excellent introductory Webinar on Open Source software on March 17, 2009. Follow the “Here’s the recording” link. The first 12 minutes are an orientation to the Webinar functions and troubleshooting for the attendees.  Skip forward to get to the content on Open Source.

The Webinar inspired this post and I am highlighting  some important points in the presentation while including my own comments and examples. The five main sections are:

  1. Definition of Open Source
  2. Examples
  3. Reliability and Quality
  4. Cost
  5. Assessment
  6. Question and Answer session

Definition

The definition of open source software is set by the Open Source Initiative and is paraphrased below:

Software that allows its users to access and modify the computer code it was created with and includes licensing that allows it to be freely shared and modified without restriction.

A similar concept exists in the GNU Operating system and the Free Software Foundation who originally developed the concept of free software distribution. The major difference with their license and philosophy is that they choose to emphasize the word “free” and do not accept some license restrictions that open source does.

Examples

  • For more examples fast forward to (33:30) for a list of open source software in libraries – The audio mentions more Continue reading

Relevant User Guides in a Web 2.0 World

This post is a summary of a presentation given by two Information Literacy Librarians from Wartburg College, Kimberly Babcock Mashek and Kari Weaver,  at the Library Technology Conference on March 19, 2009.  They compare different user guide models and present best practices to make them more interactive and effective. 

The main points of the presentation are to:

  1. Understand what your users want
  2. Understand what resources you have available
  3. Choose the most appropriate resources according to points 1 & 2.
  4. Continue to evaluate and maintain your services.
  5. Share their experience and successes at Wartburg College

Brief History of User Guides

Pathfinders or Static Web Pages

Problems

  • Don’t know if people are using them
  • No standardization
  • Users don’t understand library jargon

Why user guides?

  • Enhances Info Lit Instruction
  • Virtual Access
  • Model proper research behavior

What is expected?

  • Be specific
    • by class or assignment
  • Allow customization
    • what are primary databases in their field
  • Need to be current
    • link checking (can pay or have student workers do it)
  • Want sophisticated search but not have to struggle to use it
  • Easy to find library Web page
  • Familiarity/comfort with interface
    • use Wikipedia platform (MediaWiki)
  • Explanation of resources and context
  • Minimal clicks
  • No library jargon
    • research help
  • Anytime, anywhere convenient

Continue reading

Journal TOC Current Awareness Tool

The ticTOCs Journal Table of Contents Service from Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) provides the Table of Contents from over 11,000 journals for free.  Faculty who want assistance in keeping up with new research in their field would appreciate this service.  The notification is through RSS only limting the usefulness to those who use RSS.  Librarians could email the contents of feeds for those who are less tech saavy as a servie.

Thanks to Richard Ackerman of Science Library Pad for bringing this service to my attention.

Zotero quick intro

Educause published a great quick reference about Zotero in September 2008.  It answers 7 main questions about Zotero:

  1. What is it?

    A research tool for managing online references.

  2. Who’s doing it?

    Software reads bib info from online locations like the Library of Congress, LexisNexis, Amazon, and JSTOR as well as many other Web Sites.

    Used by anyone who does online research including undergrads, graduates, faculty and researchers.

  3. How does it work?

    A download that is embedded in Firefox, Netscape 9.0 or Flock that appears as a button at the bottom right of the browser window.

    Application allows users to easily add, organize, annotate, and export resources, sometimes with one click.

  4. Why is it significant?

    Users have their own repository to store and organize the whole body of their research.

    It also allows for easy use and connections of those stored citations and documents.

  5. What are the downsides?

    Limited to Firefox and doesn’t work with Internet Explorer.

    Located on one computer.

    (Not in this document, but current lawsuit from the makers of EndNote, courtesy of Disruptive Library Technology Jester, threatens the new release of Zotero).

  6. Where is it going?

    Developers are working to make an online version in order to add availability from any computer.

    Format is good for scholars who want to use and cite the variety of media on the Internet.

  7. What are the implications for teaching and learning?

    Facilitates and encourages proper citation.

    Located in environment where online research takes place; the browser.

Free citation tools

While many libraries with ample budgets use citation tools like EndNote and RefWorks, there are alternatives for libraries that need to save every dime.

Three of those options are Zotero, a Firefox browser add-on, and two other Web-based services, Connotea and CiteULike.

Zotero is an open source project created by the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University and is supported by grants from the Institute for Museum and Library Studies, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. It is in the midst of a lawsuit imposed upon them by Thomson Reuters, the creators of EndNote.

Connotea is provided by the Nature publishing group and is focused towards scientists, clinicians and researchers, CiteULike is supported by the Springer publishing group and is also heavily populated by scientific users. These two are also similar because they have social networking features like tagging and the ability to view, share and add other peoples citations to your collection.