Friday, December 22, 2006

Friday Fun Thing: Holidays

Need to work on a last-minute holiday display, bulletin board, bookmark, or press release? Don't forget the Census Bureau's Facts for Features & Special Editions can help. The release for 2006's The Holiday Season has been out for some time now. (Actually, the one for Valentine's Day 2007 is out, for those of you who work on the opposite end of the early/late spectrum!)

Now, I'm off to add my cards and letters to the 20 billion "letters, packages and cards the U.S. Postal Service expects to deliver between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year."


Thursday, December 21, 2006

Friday Fun Thing: Harry Potter #7 Title Announced

Friday Fun Thing a little early this week: J. K. Rowling has just announced the title for the last Harry Potter book...sort of. (And no, there's no publication date yet.) See this post for an explanation and link to the game she's created to let you discover it yourself. Or, if you can't stand it, look on Amazon for the announcement or search Google News for dozens of articles.

By the way, be sure to notice that Google is all dressed up for the holidays!


CFLC Chronicles: Office Closed

The CFLC Office is closing today, December 21, at noon and will remain closed until Wednesday, January 3, 2007.

We wish you all happy holidays!


CFLC Chronicles: New Direction

"New Direction" is subject line of this note sent by Daniel Wright, Member Services Librarian, on December 14 to his CFLC mailing list:
Today I submitted my resignation to the Central Florida Library Cooperative, closing the cover of a, wonderful, six year book. My last day in the office will be Thursday December 21, 2006.

I shall be assuming the position of Information & Instructional Librarian at the Palmer College of Chiropractic, Florida campus, in Port Orange starting Wednesday, January 3, 2007. They have been a CFLC member since they opened.

If you have any service related question for the time being please contact my long suffering Executive Director, Marta Westall.
Today is Daniel's official last day and we wish him the best of luck in his new position at Palmer. We're delighted that his new library is a CFLC member, so we'll still see him around. The office will certainly be a quieter and duller place without him! Farewell, Dan, and fare well, Dan!


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Wednesday's Weblogs: Lifehacker

No time to do a long post on a single subject with lots of blogs featured, so instead, today I'm listing one of my favorite blogs around: Lifehacker. The tag line for the blog is:
Computers make us more productive. Yeah, right. Lifehacker recommends the software downloads and web sites that actually save time. Don't live to geek; geek to live.
I follow up and save more posts from this blog than almost any other I read. Very useful, very informative, very fun stuff here. Try it, you'll like it!


Monday, December 18, 2006

Workshop Wealth: Collaborative Web

Two objectives here...first, to create something for the Collaborative Web workshop (tomorrow; register here) that would show off Flickr and Bubblr and second, to also share some information about Librarian Trading Cards (mentioned in an earlier Friday Fun Things post here). Okay, it's not great, but it gives you the definite idea that with some creativity and just a small time investment, you could do something clever and a lot better than this. :-)


CFLC Chronicles: Time Person of the Year

Me! Oh, not me...You! Well, yes, me. All of us! Cool.

"Person of the Year: You. Yes, you. You control the Information Age. Welcome to your world."

"...for seizing the reins of the global media, for founding and framing the new digital democracy, for working for nothing and beating the pros at their own game, TIME's Person of the Year for 2006 is you."

Here's the whole article, complete with discussion of Web 2.0 and some of its implications. (And if you'd like to learn more, register here for two timely workshops in Volusia tomorrow, Tuesday, December 19, the Collaborative Web and Folksonomies classes.)

Enjoy my your 15 minutes of fame!


Friday, December 15, 2006

Friday Fun Things: Free Stuff

In this season of giving, it seems appropriate to feature a page full of free goodies, courtesy of DK Publishing, Inc. (part of the Penguin Group). Features a number of e-cards, screensavers, wallpapers, and quizzes.

While you're there, check out their outrageous Pop-Up Book of Celebrity Meltdowns! (Doesn't someone on your gift list deserve this?!)


Blog Business: WriteToMyBlog

These early paragraphs are being edited in Blogger after the rest of the post was posted from WriteToMyBlog (described below), in order to tell you what I found after using it. Skip to below the asterisks if you don't want the postmortem.

Above the asterisks is the Blogger default format; below is WriteToMyBlog's. The program inserted a title, which I chose to edit and it instructs you to turn off automatic line breaks in Blogger, which promptly reformatted the whole blog, much to its detriment. Therefore, I'm having to go in after the fact and take out the double breaks. The one thing I can't seem to quite get right, though, without spending an inordinate amount of time trying to figure it out is the spacing before the table. Sorry it looks funny; it looked fine before I published it, but looking at the published table, I see breaks that are inserted as I publish. I can't make them go away if they're not there beforehand and I'm not willing to mess with the formatting of the whole blog for the sake of one experimental table. :-(

This is an experimental post written with a relatively new free blogging tool, WriteToMyBlog , which allows creating and posting from their site to multiple blogs simultaneously (if you have more than one). A large number of frmts formats (for example) and symbols (e.g., ♥, £, ¼) are featured (more than I've found on Blogger without having to go into the HTML), and there's a good tour on the site plus an example post that gives you a feel for what is possible. The comments in the example post explain a number of issues.

Want Tables?





Table Insertion




To Know HTML !

There's a spellchecker... también en otros idiomas (also in other languages) - though it won't correct bad grammar! There is a field for tags (I simply accepted theirs) and it also supports trackback, but be aware that Blogger doesn't support the latter (one of the things explained in the example).

It's easy to post photos from a Flickr account or videos from YouTube, but to post from the C:\ drive, which is normal for me, it's a bit more cumbersome than Blogger, ergo, no photo here.

For those of you who blog, try it out and kick the tires!


Tags: , ,

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Web Search Stuff: Patents

Google has for some time had the ability to link to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) database record for a patent when the search was the word "patent" followed by the patent number. (See here for instructions, see results here, and click on the link by the magnifying glass to link out to the USPTO record.)

Today, however, Google announced the availability of its beta Google Patent Search. This allows searching by much more than the patent number and relies on the same technology it uses for the Google Book Search to display the patent itself, complete with abstract, drawings, description, and claims. Drawing on dim and faraway lessons learned when a former job included workshops on how to search various patent databases, I recalled a couple of truly unusual patents to try to find. To test the system if you can't come up with an example of your own, try searching on the terms "hijacking syringe" (horrifying!) or "centrifugal birth" (a mental image of a breathless nurse running alongside with a catcher's mitt or a fishing net ALWAYS makes me laugh!) .

I should also take the time to remind folks that for most Central Florida libraries, the University of Central Florida Library is the closest patent depository library and they have some excellent search aids, tutorials, and tools for inventors linked on their government documents pages.


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Wednesday’s Weblogs: Reference

I was recently asked by a CFLC member who has to recapture some e-mail subscriptions if I could recommend some good e-mail lists for reference work. In contemplating it, I felt this might make a useful blog post for others as well.

My first recommendation, having used an RSS aggregator for quite a while now, would be to subscribe to as many lists as you can via a reader rather than via e-mail. (Here and here are good articles on what RSS is all about.) There are a number of good readers/aggregators out there, some requiring downloading software and some available over the Web. There are a couple of good articles comparing readers here and here. My personal favorite (because it was free, easy, and readily available at the time I started reading blogs) is Bloglines. There's a great article by Joy Weese Moll that will walk newbies through how to use it, Bloglines for Librarians in Three (and a half) Easy Steps, and another with a lot of screenshots, Using Bloglines (or How to keep up with dozens of blogs everyday).

Once subscribed to a reader, most of them have lists of popular feeds from which you can select. However, you can also enter the RSS addresses or URLs for specific blogs and lists and subscribe to them that way.

Since the actual question I was asked had to do with reference, here are some excellent choices for staying up-to-date with Web sites useful for reference work:
  • Librarians' Internet Index New This Week (Weekly listing of "between thirty to sixty websites representing the best of the Web" added to LII.): RSS & e-mail
  • ResearchBuzz ("News about search engines, databases, and other information collections."): RSS & e-mail both available here
  • Resource Shelf ("A daily newsletter with resources of interest to information professionals, educators and journalists."): RSS & e-mail
  • DocuTicker (Daily companion to the above, focusing on "new reports from government agencies, ngo's, think tanks, and other groups."): RSS & e-mail (incorporated into the above newsletter)
  • Internet Resources Newsletter (From a British University library, a "free monthly newsletter for academics, students, engineers, scientists and social scientists."): RSS & e-mail
  • Sites and Soundbytes (Blog from the director of a public library in Wisconsin, this also has a great set of similar links under the sideblog header "where i find my sites" [sic].): RSS only
  • CFLC Currents (This blog...sorry, had to add it! "Tuesday's Tools" feature some Web reference tools, databases, etc.): RSS only
  • Library Link of the Day ("[P]rovides you a daily link for keeping up to date with the library profession..."): RSS & e-mail
  • FreePint (Slight British/European and business slant to "a global network of people who find, use, manage and share work-related information."): partial content via RSS & newsletter via e-mail
  • Stumpers-L ("The Stumpers list is a place for librarians (and others) to discuss reference questions which they are unable to answer using available resources..."): e-mail only
  • LIBREF-L ("Discussion of Library Reference Issues."): e-mail only
That probably is enough for an introductory post about reference blogs. I'll take on some other topical blogs in future posts.

What other reference-related blogs or e-mail lists do you read and recommend?


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Tuesday's Tool: YouSENDIt

Great new tool that can help libraries with patrons who have no e-mail address, don't want to set up a free account, but still want to send files to someone who does have e-mail: YouSENDIt. Read more about it here at the fairly new Library Zen blog/wiki (LISZEN).

NOTE: Post edited to correct case in title.


Friday, December 08, 2006

CFLC Chronicles: FAME Exhibits

Here are some belatedly posted pictures of the booth sponsored by Florida's Multitype Library Cooperatives at the recent Florida Association for Media in Education (FAME) Conference in Orlando in early November. Pictured here are Daniel Wright of CFLC and Christopher Jones of SWFLN (Southwest Florida Library Network). The real subtitle here should be "With Sponsorship, You Get Eggroll, er, Sombrero!"


Friday Fun Thing: Which Famous Novel Are You?

A very brief, VERY informal survey (complete with some typos, unfortunately) by a teen for teens, but right up the library alley. It could easily be used on a Web page or on a blog to generate some (especially) teen interest and activity...

Which Famous Novel Are You? (Pictures)

Hound of Baskervilles
(BY: Arthur Conan Doyle) You love mystery novels and can't turn down a riddle or a predicament. You are mysterious and interesting.
Take The Quiz Now!Quizzes by