Sunday, December 30, 2007

A Look Back and A Step Forward To 2008

I want to give you some of the statistics about the blog readership and related information. There have been about 6,000 visits to the blog since the inception. Now there aren't 6,000 of us in the program so some folks kinda stumble in or are attracted to a particular posted topic.

PCC LibTech Reader World Map

The visitors are primarily across the United States however we do have readers in Australia, The Philippians, Hong Kong, India and other places I'm trying to figure out where the heck they are on the planet.

There has been minimal advertising about the blog. I do mention it to others and it is on my business card. It is also posted on the PCC Library Technology website.

Many of the visitors come via Google searches and some of the most popular posts (in no particular order) are:
  • Fact Check.org
  • Library of Congress Classification Tutorials
  • Screen Demos
  • Employment and Job Leads
  • Belinda Beardt on Resume Preparation
  • Ready Reference Tools
So what happens now? Well, certainly the blog will continue through June-July 2008. I will scout around trying to find the next generation of LT bloggers. I think some of the paraprofessional staffers have a lot to contribute so maybe they might be interested in adding to the blog.

This is a hint that if you are in the program and want to get you feet wet blogging now is the time to make contact.

As for me? I really want to transition from my current day job to my next adventure. So there may be a lot more posting about employment tools and techniques. But I have a bunch more library technology posts I want to make sure are present for the future classes to come.

This blog would not have been possible without Mary Ann Laun. It was her idea and I just went along for the right. It has been a great one so far and I invite you to continue checking in from time to time.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Robin M. Dixon - Collection Development Video

Many of the federal government libraries are being closed or downsized. Libraries such as the Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA) libraries.

Many of the libraries are being permanently closed or converted from physical libraries to electronic/virtual libraries.

In this video, Ms. Dixon of the NASA Goddard Library gives a talk about how she used OCLC Collection Analysis to prove that the Goddard Library has a unique collection. She also touches upon the need for interlibrary loans among the other NASA libraries, the needs of her patrons, (Scientists) for actual physical books and a bit about the process the Goddard Library used to handle a libraries worse case scenario.

Note to Firefox and Alternative browser users - this is a streamed video presentation that does not run in the Firefox browner. I had to switch to Microsoft Internet Explorer.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Definr - A New On-Line Dictionary

Just starting to backtrack over my e-mails and RSS feeds. Got this piece of joy from AppScout and it is a doozy. Definr is one fast on-line dictionary.

Definr - A Fast Dictionary

You just start typing the word and Definr will find the rest of the word for you. And even better if you don't understand the words used in the definition they are linked to other defined words. You get your synonyms tossed in for free.

The database currently has 200, 000 words and there is a list of the the top fifty searched words. No ads, no garbage or distractions to lead you down the path of ill repute.

Ah, memories of how the Internet used to be.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

It Was A Lovely Day - Certification Day

Today was our certification ceremony.

I honestly didn't think I was going to get a certificate. Let me explain. I originally wanted to take Library 102 - Reference and Information Services because I thought that it would help me a better writer.

The thing was the class was packed and I couldn't get a seat in the class. So the next semester I picked up Library 10 and 1A and one thing led to another. Except I could never get into Library 102.

But I kept trying. Each class was a gate way to ideas I wanted to know more about, even Cataloging. Cuz if you can pass Cataloging you can darn well do anything.

Eventually I did get into Library 102. And learned I have a heck of a lot more to learn about Reference and Information Services. Might have to check out that MLS after all.

So I want to thank everyone in the program for their kindness and dedication on behalf of those students who have graduated and those lucky souls who are to come down the path.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Erin McKean and The Dictionary

It happens once a year when thinkers and doers get together and share what they know or experienced. The TED Conference joins great minds for four days of laughter, education and inspiration.



In this clip, Lexicographer Erin McKean talks about the need to embrace all words, how the form must change and her need to go fishing. For more great videos, speakers and ideas recorded at the TED conference visit http://www.ted.com

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Just for Fun - Library Intervention Video

We are all in the last week of classes before finals so I think a little diversion is in order. There are some of our classmates who have no desire to be librarians, learning to be a library assistant/paraprofessional is a handful in and of itself.



There are other that are closet librarians and can't quite admit that they are who they are. These pesky people know the difference between Shazam and Captain Marvel, what the professor's name in Gilligan's Island is and the difference between Cajun and Creole Gumbo.

For those folks this video is for you.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Ask.com Blog - If A Search Engine Could Talk

Ask.com is a pretty good search engine that get overlook because of you know who. With the recent improvements and new features it is getting stronger as an alternative.

But what if a search engine could talk or better still blog? Ask.com's blog has articles that are worth checking out. Some are educational, some are just for fun but when you can combine the two that is pure edutainment.
  • Hurricane season awareness that provide links to what the duration of the season but also talks about the Smart Answer feature that combines links with reliable resources. It is another step closer to search engines anticipating users searches and providing librarian type answers.
  • Celebration of the Smiley. It gives the definitions, what it looks like, who sent the first smiley and link to the history of emoticons.
  • Elvis may have left the building but he is certainly not forgotten. In this blog post they have links to his biography, his health problems and a great video of Elvis singing a duet with Frank Sinatra.
  • Aye, we missed it this year but you can be ready to talk like a Pirate without having to clime the mizzenmast.

Cyber Ready-Reference Desk Tools

For most of us we may find ourselves sitting at a library desk answering routine questions (We hope!) Many times the answers will be on a sheet of paper or a shelf of books behind us.

But there will be times when we'll need to find the answer and you fingers are already on the keyboard. This is a brief survey of the type of information resources that are available for quick ready-reference type questions.

Library Focus Ready-Reference

The Internet for Librarians has a great page that links to Almanacs, Biographies, Maps and other types of fact based information. The Internet Public Library has a master page of links to similar types of items including calendars systems, links to experts and a link to the Department of Defense list of Military Acronyms and Abbreviations.

Lakewood Public Library (Ohio) has a library vetted list of good links for tech dictionaries, charity evaluations sites like Guidestar and Idealist and a link to the Ramapo Catskill Library system which has its own Best Online Reference sites.

And for the folks up north in Canada there is the Ontario Ready Reference page produced by the Southern Ontario Library Service.

Non Library Ready-Reference

Acronym Finder does what it claims, you type in the acronym or abbreviation or initialisms and it will root out a list of associated concepts.

An oldie but a goodie RefDesk has a little bit of everything such as currency converters, links to online encyclopedias, national and international newspapers and so much more. The design is old school 1998 so it is really important to scroll down to get familiar with all the items it contains.

Kathy Schrock over at Discovery Education has a nice list of items such as Phone Directories, Citation guides, Robert's Rules of Order and the World Time Server.

And if you really want to get a taste of the kind of questions folks ask at the library you should take a look at Ask Meta Filter. It is a good opportunity to practice on the kind of questions you might face at a public library desk. After reading a few of the questions I am rethinking my position on cataloging.

Construction of A Ready Reference Page

For those of you interested in becoming librarians or those on the tech side that would like to know how to structure these kind of sites I found an 1998 article on the value of having library reference web sites. Some of the concepts are still valid, however some of the links have evolved, disappeared or changed.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Howard Hughes Medical Institute Catalog - Free DVDs

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute is a non-profit medical research organization. As part of its education mission it provides free publications, DVD and other education resources to any who would like copy of those materials.

This is an extract from one of the publications:
The Howard Hughes Medical Institute was founded in 1953 by the aviator industrialist Howard R. Hughes. Its charter reads, in part: “The primary purpose and objective of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute shall be the promotion of human knowledge within the field of the basic sciences (principally the field of medical research and medical education) and the effective application thereof for the benefit of mankind.”
Libraries, school teachers and individuals can request a copy of one of the publications, lessons or DVDs. Some of the items include:
To order just fill out the new user form and your mailing address. The materials will be shipped free of charge. Printed materials and DVD/VHS videos will be mailed to your home, school or library.

To learn more about the Institute you can download a copy of their quarterly publication. For those in classroom situations you can order more than one copy, or contact HHMI for more information.

How can they afford to do this? Mr. Hughes left a significant endowment for the institute. A $16.3 Billion dollar endowment.

Educational Video Resources - Not Just YouTube

YouTube may get the attention but there are other sources for online video. There are are variety of videos being produced for educational, instructional and other purposes. This is just a sample.

SciVee videos are created by scientists for scientists. You can video a video that has a paper submitted to a peer review journal or you can view a video such as "Cyber Infrastructure for Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences - Part 2"

This is not Beakman's World or Bill Nye the Science Guy type of videos. This is hard core science communication, education and awareness.

TeachTube has a variety of videos for K-12, college, university level and for those folks that have an interest in educational topics. TeacherTube could be a great resource for home school students, tutorial assistance or if you want to learn about a new topic.



For example this is a video on how to use a wiki.

And finally you might want to take a look at University of California Television (UCTV). These are programs produced by the university system that contain documentaries, performances and symposiums created by the UC colleges and universities. There are multiple ways to view the content.
  • Subscribers to the DISH network can tune in at channel 9412,
  • If you have cable and are in the Los Angeles area you can tune in on channel 36 or,
  • You can watch anytime view the web.
There is 25 hours of original programming in health and medicine, public affairs, sciences and arts and the humanities. Originally the programs were produced for the web in Real Player format. Newer programs will be in the Flash Video format.

USC Norris Medical Library Seeks Student Assistant

The USC Norris Medical Library is seeking a student assistant for the library.

Thanks to Carol Liu for this job tip. The library is located on the USC Health Sciences Campus next to the LA County & USC Medical Center. There is a job opening for student assistant.

Here are the job details:
  • Wage: $9.00/hr., paid weekly
  • Work Schedule: Sun. 1:00-6:00 pm, Mon. 1:00-7:00 pm & Tue. 1:00-7:00 pm
Job Responsibilities:
  • Staff the loan desk including all circulation functions
  • Page, photocopy, ILL processing
  • Miscellaneous tasks as assigned.
For more information or to schedule an interview, call Cathy Hayase at (323) 442-1132.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Free Book Fix - 2006 Britannica World Data

I've written about Wowio before. It is a free book service that allows you download books in the Adobe .pdf format. I found two books that might be of interest those of us who need to search in a variety of formats.

2006 Britannica World Data: Nations of the World
just popped up on my radar as a good resource to have when you are looking for international data. If you are or will take Library 102 you are definitely going to want to cruise through the reference guide.

Also available is the 2006 Britannica World Data: Comparative National Statistics with a bunch of statistical information. Certainly you want to find current information but when you don't know where to start this might be a good preliminary check.

These are free books with no strings or ad-ware. Yyou do need to sign up with Wowio (just takes a moment) and then you can download the book. This can be addicting so make sure you don't fill your hard drive with books you don't have time to read.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Multitasking - Just Say No?

I've been so busy I haven't had time to indulge in my LifeHacker fix. They pointed me to an article on WebMD on how to "Multitask without Losing Your Mind".

Short version - Don't drive and talk on your cell phone! Well that would be my number one tip. They go into a bit more detail. It is a short read.

Google For Educators - Oogle The Goods

Google For Educators is designed for Teachers, Librarians, Parents who instruct or anyone that has anything to do with transmitting information from one group of people to another.

You don't have to be in a classroom to appreciate some of the assistance Google is providing. For LT's in Library 10a 101 or 102 you definitely want to check out the poster section where you can download posters on how to perform better searches with Google.

Other Items To Peruse:

Under Tools For Educators there is a collection of Google Apps that educators can use however when you click the link next to "Google Maps" you get an explanation of how it can be use to explain what it does and how it could be incorporated into a lesson.

There is also Google Apps for Education where you as an instructor/facilitator can make use of GMail, Google Talk, Google Calendar, Google Docs and Spreadsheets to collaborate with either team members or with participants. These are free online applications that can be targeted for a variety of purposes.

The Google Custom Search Engine would allow you to create a mini version of the Google Search that you could tailor to students. It is not hard and the do have a .pdf document that tells you how to create and then added it to a web site or blog.

Monday, November 05, 2007

SJSU Colloquia - Video Presentation on Library Topics

San Jose State University have an online version of presentations that address a variety of topics that you can view from the comfort of your home. The topics are diverse and touch on many of the topics that have been introduced to us via our classes.

SJSU Colloquia

The presentations are in Real Player format but they are embedded on a web page. There is a captioned version available as well as an audio .mp3 format and the video mp4 or m4v (iPod format).

I do have to tell you that the video download huge. To download the Community Outreach video was 680MB so you might want to view online. You should have a broadband or cable Internet connection to comfortably view or download the presentations.

You have the option to subscribe to the Colloquia via RSS or iTunes. Most of the presentations are about 30 minutes to an hour. It is a neat way to keep up with topics in the industry.

Librarians for Tomorrow - San Jose State University

If you are trying to decide if you can afford to go to library school to obtain a Masters in Library and Information Sciences degree here is good news. The Librarians for Tomorrow program wants you.

If you qualify you might receive a financial stipend, tuition assistance, a laptop computer and other program goodies. The goal is to increase the numbers of librarians that come from undeserved populations. Do not assume this does not apply to you.

If your are considering applying at San Jose State University you must first apply for admission to the University. Next you apply for the Librarians for Tomorrow program.

For more information you can visit the SJSU Librarians for Tomorrow website.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Library of Congress Classifiction Tutorials

Yes, learning the Library of Congress Classification system is not for the faint of heart. Fortunately there are some online resources that you can use to get a handle on how things are done in LC land.

The LC Classification system is a subject based classification system using alphabets and numbers to create subdivisions of a subject.

Classification Number Anatomy

Dennison University has a visual page that shows the construction of an LC number.

Another place to check is Tarleton State University Library has a clear tutorial page that explains how the call numbers are built.

If you have the current version of Java running you can access a Java based slide show on how the numbers function in the real world. First thing you will learn is that "Nothing comes before something" and the second thing is "single letters come before double letters." There is a quiz at the end to test your comprehension.

Theory Based Tutorials


Tulane University Howard Tilton LC Informal Notes page talks about the features of LC, how it was constructed and some of the quirk inherent in the system.

Colorado State University goes into a bit more detail on how the call numbers are constructed. The first section has information on the classification scheme and the second section describes how to find the book on the shelf.

University of Michigan Libraries Understanding Library of Congress Call Numbers combines the anatomy approach with an explanation of how to read the number. This is a downloadabled .pdf document.

And finally thanks to Lisa The Librarian's blog there is a complete demo tutorial on shelving and reading LC numbers at the LibraryU website. Look for the link "Demo" on the left side of the screen.

Of course you should visit the Library of Congress Classification Outline page where you can download specific sections of the classification system and observe how the system is constructed and spend time exploring Classification Web.

Copyright and Fair Use Resources

In this connected world we all have to be concerned about copyright and fair use issues. It is , not just what the patrons will do with the content but the libraries themselves; especially when it comes to public presentations, handouts and teaching materials.

American University's Center for Social Media has a page that deals with issues about copyright and Fair Use. The site contains downloads of guides, articles and videso that help to explain the concepts of what you can and can't do with copyrighted material. Peter Jazsi has a simple list of what you can do such as able to use any U.S. government documentation without permission and that include text, audio content and videos.

What Works Are In the Public Domain is a four page chart of what works you can freely use without concern.

There are other places to check out for assistance such as The Center for the Study of Public Domain from Duke University. This is a humorous comic book style guide that will help readers understand issues concerning copyright.

Standford University Libraries has a wonderful page full of just about everything you would want to know about the topic. There is a library resource page that contains links to other libraries that have a specific focus on the topic such as music libraries, rights to rebroadcast DVD and videotape content and more.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Temporary Employment at AIM

If you are flexible with your schedules and would like to build your jobs skills you should check out some of the temporary work opportunities from the Advanced Information Management (AIM) website.

Terry Fresques, a former student of the program gave Mrs. Kim the heads up about the following positions:
  • Upper School Librarian
  • Temporary Part-Time Library Assistant in Santa Monica
If you go to the employment page web site you can also see some of the other on-going temporary positions that are available. If you only want to work a half day on Sunday this might be the resource you are looking for, the City of Torrance needs you.

Working temp is a good way to find out what you like and don't like in a work environment. One the day that I visited the site there were law library, circulation and public library position.

Road Trip - The California Library Association Conference

Well, it is just a few days until the California Library Association Conference. It will be a busy Saturday. The actual conference is a four day of workshops, exhibits, meet-ups, eating opportunities and networking among folks who love to exchange information.

Thanks to the kind folks at InfoPeople for providing tickets to the exhibit floor. PCC LibTechs will be cruising to learn, share and experience a library focused conference. InfoPeople mission is to provide training and support to California's libraries and library workers.

For the conference newbie here are some of the standard tips to help you maximize your experience.
  1. Be on time - you snooze you loose!
  2. Wear comfortable walking shoes, you will be covering a lot of territory and most of the time you will be on your feet.
  3. Bring only the essentials, like a really big bag or backpack. Or a bag with wheels on it. Your goal is to stuff it with every scrap of paper that is available on the exhibit floor.
  4. Scope out the exhibitors you want to meet and then work your way to your second and third choices.
  5. Bring your business cards if you have them. You never know when a job opportunity or a great contact will present itself.
  6. Know where to find the bus that will bring you back to Pasadena.
  7. If you should happen to miss the PCC ride home then know where to board the Metro Blue Line which will get you into downtown Los Angeles (7th and Figueroa). Transfer to the Red Line to Union Station and a final transfer to the Gold Line to get you back to Pasadena. It will be a long and adventure filled trip.
If you want to know more you can visit the CLA 2007 Conference Blog or you can make your own itinerary planner. See you Saturday!

Pasadena Unified School District Seeks Library Coordinator

The Pasadena Unified School District is looking for candidates to fill the Library Coordinator position at various elementary school locations. The ideal candidate is a graduate of a library technology program and has at least one year of actual library experience.

Duties Include:
  • Operation of an elementary school library
  • Assist students and teachers
  • Perform clerical functions as needed.
The pay rate is $14.04 an hour for under six hours a day without benefits. The full time pay rate is $12.98 per hour for over six hours a day with benefits.

The application deadline is November 9, 2007. For more information you can visit the PUSD Employment page to download the job notice or call (626) 568-4513

Friday, October 19, 2007

Alliant International University Seeking Library Technician-Access Services

Alliant International University is a not for profit school that prepares upper undergraduates and graduate level students in degrees in the Social Sciences. The library is looking for a technician to assist in the Access Services Dept.

From the website:
The Library Technician--Access Services, under the direction of the Information & Access Services Librarian, is responsible for Access Services, including: circulation, course reserves, assessment management, serials management, supervision and other duties as described below.
This is a full time position. The hours are from 1:00pm to 9:00pm Monday through Friday, however there may be some weekend assignments. The salary depends on experience.

If you would like to apply for this job opportunity please contact Stephanie Ballard, Information & Access Services Librarian Alliant International University - Los Angeles, Library
1000 S. Fremont Ave., #5 Alhambra, CA 91803 or you can email jobs@alliant.edu

Monday, October 15, 2007

PCC President Ambassadors

The President’s Ambassadors are students that serve as the honorary representatives of Dr. Paulette J. Perfumo, Superintendent-President of Pasadena City College.

The President’s Ambassadors have the privilege of showcasing Pasadena City College as one of the country’s premier community colleges in a various promotional activities, such as community events and visits to local schools. They discuss the benefits of attending PCC, including transferring from the college to a university and earning an associate degree or certificate with prospective students, campus visitors and community leaders.

Typical activities include:
  • Presentations to K-12 schools
  • Attending on-campus events and ceremonies
  • Attending off-campus fairs
  • Conducting campus tours
  • Providing support to college activities and programs.
Among the benefits the Ambassadors gain from participating in the program:
  • Learning effective public speaking skills
  • Networking with college and community leaders
  • Serving as role models and mentors to other students
President’s Ambassadors in good standing will also receive:
  • Recognition in the graduation program announcement
  • A certificate of participation in the program
  • A letter of recommendation from Superintendent-President Paulette J. Perfumo
  • A general letter of appreciation from Dr. Paulette Perfumo
  • Acknowledgment of participation in the President’s Ambassadors Program on the PCC transcript
Program Requirements:
  • A minimum of six units completed at Pasadena City College
  • Maintaining a minimum GPA of 2.75
  • Submittal of a program application
  • An interview
  • Attending an orientation
  • Minimum two hour per week commitment
If you would like to apply for being an PCC Presidential Ambassador please contact Mary Ann Laun for more information.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Dewey Decimal System - All Dewey All The Time

If you find yourself working in a public library chances are good that it will use the Dewey Decimal System. Melvil Dewey is certainly represented on the web and in the blogosphere.

The following places of interest are a quick look at some of the resources available to help you learn and understand about the classification system. If you are taking Library 105B you are hip deep in the Dewey so hopefully I can dig out additional resources for the class.

The official Dewey site Online Learning Computer Center (OCLC) contain a gateway to the world of classification. You can download a copy of Introduction of Dewey Decimal Classification. In 37 pages it will give you the history, the classification schedules and the beginning steps on how to determine a subject, Notation, field of study and working with schedules and tables.

You will also want to check out the glossary of Dewey terms. Students in certain LT classes have access to Web Dewey but if you would like to get a head start on how to use the Web Dewey feature you can view a Power Point tutorial.

Outside of OCLC another place you want to visit is the Dewey Blog, edited by Johnathan Furner and the DDC team. If you can think it there is (or will be) a Dewey number for it. The blog represents life as viewed by the DDC. One of the entry that had me blinking was the classification of the toys and lead problems that have been in the news.

They go through the process of how this topic has been classified and what they do when there is not an exact match in the classification system. It is also a good opportunity to observe how a DDC "built" numbers are constructed.

Not every public library has Dewey, in fact there are a few that stopped using Dewey numbers such as the one in Arizona. They will arrange books by topic instead.

This has generated a lot of posts. Daniel DeStefano isn't crazy about the idea. A Library By Any Other name blog suggest that one of the problems with patrons finding books is that there isn't the right kind of signs or visual cues that would make it clear that where to find the history book.

Not all folks hate the idea of pitching Dewey - some folks like Shelly from A View From Here mention that maybe there could be a merger between the bookstore model and the traditional library classification systems.

California Codes - California Law Finder

Library 102 is making me feel very humble. I have forgotten how to find things in print. What I have forgotten is matched up with what I don't know. There is a lot I don't know.

But I am coming along slowly so I want to share this tip should you find yourself needing to find information about a law in California. Special shout out to Raffi because I would have never found this without his help.

In Print:

When you are looking for laws you have to think in terms of keywords. In the library there is a master index, LARMAC Consolidated Index to the Constitution and Laws of California. This has the listing for all of the keywords that are associated with the law or code.
  1. Search for the keyword and the you will find the legal citation number.
  2. Write that number down.
  3. Locate a legal resource that has that section of the law. At PCC we have West California Code; however there are other books that cite California law as well.
  4. Find the book that has the citation range, look up the number and you have successfully located the law.
Online:

The state of California has a search engine, California Law, that helps you find the codes and laws of the state.
  1. Enter the keyword in the search box at the bottom of the screen. I'll use "Chicken".
  2. Select the code that best matches your search area or select all to show all of the relevant codes under the keyword. The database will show you a listing from the table of contents that matches your keyword search.
  3. Select the number of documents you want returned, the default setting is twenty.
  4. Click the search button.
  5. A listing will appear with the sections of code that are relevant to your keyword.
  6. Click the link and you will be taken to that section of the code. In this case it was the section from the Food and Agriculture codes. You now have to drill down to find the code or law that you are searching for; so if I am looking for the code that defines a specific class of Chicken meat and I am looking for Roasters then I am searching for section 25852(c) which will give me the code for what is considered at Roaster chicken in California.
Which Is Better?

Both have advantages and disadvantages. The print version you have a keyword but that may not be the word used by the code. There will be a cross reference to the correct word but you will be flipping pages. The good news is that you will be able to observe the legal context of your search area and may see a better keyword that matches what you are looking for.

The online method is initially faster but it will take you longer to drill down to the section of law or code. Instead of zooming in like you can in the print version you will have to visually drill down on the screen.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Looking At The Financials - Finding Business Information

This post was inspired by a class exercise in Library 102. Where do you find reliable financial information if you are not an investor, economist or Warren Buffett?

So this is a small sample of websites that have established reputations, clear descriptions of what they do and the information that they provide. As with any site on the web, particularly with financial sites evaluation is extremely important.

For the most part I have collected most of the sites listed below via recommendations from college and university web sites.

Bankrate.com is a free information portal for visitors to compare and find credit card rates, saving, auto, mortgage and interest rates, and retirement plans. If you are looking for the best interest rate to stash your emergency cash this is the place to come to. Bankrate.com helps visitors understand what is happening in the world of personal finance. There are articles, tutorials and calculators.

It is a free service however it is supported by advertising and some of the tutorial content is provided by various financial companies. The site does disclose when the information is provided by a sponsoring company. Bankrate.com also syndicates their content to other websites and publications.

Perhaps you need to locate a company. There are a lot of ways to go about it. According to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission:
All companies, foreign and domestic, are required to file registration statements, periodic reports, and other forms electronically through EDGAR. Anyone can access and download this information for free. Here you'll find links to a complete list of filings available through EDGAR and instructions for searching the EDGAR database.
The Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval system, EDGAR is a database of those reports with the names, addresses and legally required documentation (i.e. financials) that are filed with the federal government. There are tutorials on how to use EDGAR and information on the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) Code List.

Another place to locate U.S. company data are Hoover's, which can help you general financial information by company, geographic location or industry. Hoover's also has profile videos that focus on certain segments of industry. This is a subscription site but the general business data is free to view. Hoover's is owned by Dun & Bradstreet.

Michigan State University - Global Edge If your needs are more substantial, such as finding information about international business or trade, academic research, historical trade data select countries.

Global Edge also has industry profiles on specific business area such as food and beverage. The information is produced by the University International Business Center. Global Edge is free and the general public is welcomed to use the information.

The World Bank Data and Research section has extensive statistics in a variety of formats. If you want a quick overview of Napal's poverty level and the economic status of the country this is your place. Huge amount of data.

These are just starting points. The important things to remember about financial websites are that you want to know who is producing the information, the context of the information, what is the relation to advertisers and sponsors and can the information be verified by external sources independent of the web site.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Alhambra Library Seeking A Part-Time Library Page

Thanks to Helen K. for this employment lead. The Alhambra Public Library is looking for a part-time library page. The duties include:
  • Primary duties of the position include lifting, moving, sorting, and re-shelving library materials.
  • Other duties may include, but are not limited to the following: shelf reading; maintaining audio visual/microform equipment; magazine processing; raising and lowering of flags; checking in of all library materials; processing (cover books, stamp items, make labels, etc.) library materials and other duties as required by the supervisor.
The pay rate for this position is $8.59 - $9.90 per hour. This is a temporary position and there are no benefits.

If you are interested you can download a job application form at the city's website. At the website you can view the full description of the library page employment description.

Pasadena Central Library Needs Volunteer LT's

Pasadena Public Library has a Community Calendar of events database which does a great job of sharing with the community the different things that are happening in the Pasadena area.

If you have time or need on the job experience they need help with the data entry. It is a good opportunity to observe the workings of the library and being of service to your community as well.

If you would like more info contact Anne Mellow at 626-744-4318

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

In the Author's Voice - Book Videos by Publishers

JW

This concept is a little different than CSPAN Book-TV, Between the Lines or an author appearance on a talk show. Publishers are slowly starting to realize that they can introduced or enhance the relationship between authors and readers by using video to promote the books.

At The Penguin Group there is a specific page for authors. I selected the Robert Parker video. Either Penguin has a different idea about video (static screen shots over audio) or I have video problems (Doubtful). The audio was excellent and Mr. Parker was dishing cool writing tips. However it was a little odd looking at his facial expressions frozen in time.

The video of William Gibson worked much better. It was in QuickTime format. It was a slick production but still very informative. Penguin Books also has a podcast of various writers

At Random House I really had to hunt for the videos. I luck out when I clicked on a name, Sophie Kinsella; there are a number of videos on her page. She seems to write fiction about a hyper-shopper. This is not a line of books that I would read. Nothing personal, I really don't care for shopping but she seemed really enthusiastic.

Random House does have a page for blogs and podcasts but I'm not entirely sure they want you to find it.

Last on the speed tour is BookVideos.TV from Simon and Schuster and a video production company named Turn Here. The video I viewed was of author Jeanette Walls and her book "The Glass Castle".

The video gives a brief overview of the author and her book. It doesn't take much to get hooked.You learn appearances are deceiving. In addition to viewing the video folks can leave comments about the book, or have the ability to embed the video in a blog. Most important there is a link to purchase the book as well. If you are going to do publish author videos this then this is a good starting point to build up from.

Slightly outside of the publishing web sites is VidLit. These are short videos that can be a simple commercials for the book or in the case of Liz Dubelman's "Butterflies and Martinis" a neat intro into her world. If you really like the video you can downloaded it to your video iPod or media device.

There are quibbles. With the exception of BookVideos.TV most of the authors presented via video were male. Second you have to know that you are watching a "commercial" presentation. No one is going to do anything disturbing unless he or she is channeling Hunter Thompson or something. I liked the Parker and Gibson videos because they did talk about the process of writing. But it was a PR piece.

My last quibble is that these shouldn't be so hard to find for the average user to locate. Publishers don't really understand about viral networking or including the reader in the process (if the reader is free to choose) to help spread the word about the author or the books.

It does take promotion out of their direct control and that can be scary. There is another issue that some authors have made it very clear they don't want anything to do with blogs and bloggers or that the book they have written is not intended for a general readership.

So these are starting steps for the publishers. It will get better. It must and there is a wide open opportunity for those that can see past the initial challenges.

Monterey Park Public Library Needs You!

If you want to get on the job experience with technical services Monterey Park Public Library has need of folks who can help process, mend books and materials and help out on special projects.

This is a volunteer opportunity that would look very nice on a resume. If you are interested there will be representatives from the library on campus for the job fair next week or you can contact Evena Shu, Senior Librarian at 626-307-1379

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Wowio - More Books for Information Compulsive Persons

Wowio is a free web based service that allows you to download books, magazines and graphic novels. It gives folks an opportunity to catch up on the classics like Two Gentlemen of Verona or discover classic comics/graphic strips like Steve Canyon by Milton Caniff.

They have books in wide variety of categories such as Arts and Design, Philosophy, Business and you can't have too many Science Fiction and Fantasy books as far as I'm concerned. The books are in the Adobe PDF format.

There is a daily download limit of three books a day but how fast can you read on the screen anyway? It is free but you do have to register and they ask you not to pass the books around to other folks.

I've read a few and they are not bad. The main problem is having the time to read what I've downloaded before I grab a few more. It is an interesting idea and I hope that it will grown and develop.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Superintendent of Documents Classification System

If you want to locate federal publication documents you don't need to learn the Superintendent of Documents Classification System (SuDocs). The Government Printing Office Catalog of U.S. Government Publications allows you to type in keyword or perform advanced searches.

If you plan on working in a federal library, an academic depository library or you need to access U.S. government produced documents on a regular basis then you might need to learn this classification system.

SuDocs will make it easier to understand which agency is publishing the document and when it was created. SuDocs is a system based on:
  • the agency or department that created the document
  • the sub-level of that agency (if any)
  • the series designation (if any)
  • the number that designates the title of the publication
  • the date of publication.
For example: HE20.2:H81 translates to Health and Human Services Department Public Health Services publication entitled National Household Survey on Drug Abuse.

To learn More About SuDoc Classification

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Ning and the Library 2.0 Vibe In Action

Ning provides users the ability to create their own social network tailored to their exact interest. I found a library support staff group and other types of library social networking groups

With Ning you can set up a public or private social network. I found an Anime in Youth libraries group via Ning. You also can decide if this will be a public, members only or private network. So if you were to collaborate on a project that you didn't want others to know about then Ning might be for you.

Library support workers (and those studying to join the ranks) should make time to visit Tech United. It has been really hard to find viable library worker blogs that talk about the day to day work life of library support workers. These are folks with on the job work issues and solutions.


Visit Library Technicians United


For those of you that dabble in Second Life and are considering becoming librarians there is a group for Second Life Librarians as well as Maps and GIS librarians and iBrary for Teacher-Library to figure out the new terrain.

To be honest, many of the Ning groups seem to crash and burn out after a post or two. So it might take a little time to find the good stuff and people that you definitely want to know and network with in your spare time.

Library Technician Opportunities for September 13, 2007

Mrs. Kim has been busy scoping out potential employment goodies. Dive in and make with the contacts

Library/Media Technician II at Rialto Unified School District. From the website: this is an extract of the essential duties:
  • Performs technical processing of instructional materials, including bibliographic records,
  • Compiles and maintains requisition and purchase order files for instructional materials and textbooks,
  • Supervises student library assistants in order to maintain proper library procedures; organizes daily assignments and coordinates the activities of library students,
  • Compiles slide video/film requests; coordinates ordering and distribution of all videos/films,
  • Supervises the routing of incoming and outgoing materials to departments/schools; circulates materials,
  • Records all material costs and posts to purchase orders,
  • Assists with reviewing catalogs and recommending materials for purchase,
  • Maintains a professional library, including all books, pamphlets, periodicals, California codes and similar materials and other tasks.
Job ID: 3197; Full-time; $2,899/month Closing date: 3:30 pm, Sept 20, 2007
Inquire at www.rialto.k12.ca.us or Call at (909) 820-7700, ext.2100.

Library Technician I at County of San Diego From the job post at the website:

This is the entry level in the Library Technician class series. Incumbents perform library services in a branch library or headquarters division. Duties and responsibilities include:

  • Charging and discharging books, audio-visual materials, periodicals, pamphlets,
  • Documents and other library materials on an automated circulation system;
  • Registering library patrons, answering questions, and assisting in the use of library facilities, resources, and reference materials;
  • Shelving library materials; assisting in ordering, receiving, cataloging, and processing library materials; processing inter-library loans on an automated circulation system;
  • Assisting in children’s services, young adult programs, and other activities serving the public.
Job Code: 07401605; Full-time starting at $932 to $1,131/biweekly or $29,432/yr. Inquire at http://www.sdcounty.ca.gov, or Call at (619) 685-2458

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Welcome to Fall 2007

Greetings to all of our PCC Library Technology students!! I know some of you from previous classes. Others I had the chance to meet last Wednesday when Ann Dallavalle's class came to the Circulation Desk at the Shatford Library. (And, of course I know Joe and Damaris from the computer labs downstairs and Ernest and Jared because I am lucky enough to work with them in Circ.) I hope that you will all keep reading (or maybe even subscribe to the RSS feed for) this wonderful blog. Gena does a terrific job of providing us with all the latest helpful and interesting information. Thanks, Gena!

For those of you who don't know me yet. My name is Diana Lopez. I'm one of the techs in the Circulation Department at Shatford. If we haven't met yet, I'm sure I'll see you if you are in the Circulation class, or stop on by to introduce yourself! I know that I speak for everyone at our beautiful library when I say that we are glad you are with us!! Now, if there is any way that I can be of assistance to you with your program at PCC (or with anything else for that matter), please stop by the Circ Desk or our office on the second floor of the library. Sometimes we are a little busy, but we are always willing to help you!! We wish you success in the program and beyond. Have a terrific semester!!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Better Searching with Google Cheat Sheet

Quotation marks? Is that what you use to search Google? For shame. There are loads of Google shortcuts that will help you get what you want faster and reduce the fuzz factor.

Google has an advanced search cheat sheet for those who want to move past the hope and pray it lands on the first page surfers.

In addition to the standard AND, OR, NOT you also have other search terms like:
  • The minus sign to indicate what should not be selected if you were searching for Harry but did not want Harry Potter then you would type Harry -Potter
  • The tilde ~ to indicate search for the word and synonyms like ~chicken soup will also bring stew, recipes and books for your soul
  • I'm Feeling Lucky - Google's best guess of what you are looking for in a web site.
You also can use Google as a calculator, a dictionary or with the colon a way to find information inside of a specific web site such as Martian site:jumptheshark.com will search for the word Martin only at www.jumptheshark.com

Other search engines have special pages to help you use their sites:
  • Ask.com Advanced Search Tips
  • Hakia is a semantic search term search engine. The Labs page allows you to explore features that are not available in other search engines. The Benefits page explains how Hakia is different that the competition.
  • Windows Live Search - can be accessed via Microsoft Internet Explorer search bar or by going to the main web site.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

What Is RSS Video by Common Craft

Yes, you have to understand what RSS (Really Simple Syndication). You are a 21 century person. I promise, this won't hurt a bit and might even help you down the road of life, or you job. Ok, it might help you get a date. Or not. But why take that chance?


For a captioned version of the video you can visit dotSub to see the text of What Is RSS?

dotSub is a multinational volunteer network of folks adding captions to video. Not just for the hearing impaired folks. The site volunteers translate the audio content from videos from one language to another.

If you like this video and want to check out other work by Common Craft slide on over to http://www.commoncraft.com

Information Literacy Resources For Time Staved Students

This is an additional listing of web based information literacy resources. Information literacy has many people writing, talking and producing videos on this topic.

For example, the tutorial at the City University of New York incorporates traditional writing skills (for presentations, reports and papers) and those skills necessary to evaluate the information found on the Internet.

Stanford University's Stanford Key to Information Literacy is similar but includes a self quiz to help you check your comprehension. This tutorial is based for Stanford students but there is good stuff to be found, particularly in the Use Criteria section.

Speaking of which, there is a search engine that only allows content from authoritative sources. The Undergraduate Search Engine was created by volunteer librarians for use by freshman and sophomore students.

Librarian bloggers certainly have much to say about the topic. You should take a peak at Michael Lorenzen's work at The Informational Literacy Land of Confusion, he writes about library and non-library related issues with info literacy.

Information Literacy Weblog connects the topics with current world connections such as social networking, Second Life (how should librarians present themselves in Second Life) and work-based learning.

You don't necessarily have to read or work through modules to understand information literacy. On YouTube there are a number of videos contributing their two cents about the topic.
This is just a small sample of what is out there. Dive in and drink deep.

Monday, September 03, 2007

University of Idaho - Information Literacy Modules

There are rumblings from academia and high tone thinkers that state that bloggers, wiki participants and twitters are not equipment with the skills of evaluating information, let alone deciding to create content.

That we do not (collectively) possess the information or critical thinking skills necessary to evaluate the torrent of information that is being produced.

They argue, in the classic sense, that there needs to be gatekeepers such as the traditional news media, intellectuals and professionals trained to filter and evaluate content. These folks would have a certain level of educational background to properly present the information to the teeming masses. I think these people may be called librarians but I'm part of the great unwashed so you didn't hear it from me.


University Of Idaho Information Literacy

And for the record, I have never said to get rid of traditional news media or that bloggers will wipe out traditional news. But I digress.

Let's say the high tone thinkers are right. That information literacy skills have not been transmitted from academia to the teeming masses. I'm just a blogger but I've locate an on-line source to help me learn the skills that the upper crust is so toasted about.

The University of Idaho has an on-line series of modules to learn about information literacy and has a self-test to check your comprehension.

When you get a chance work your way through the modules. They do have a direct application to our coursework and the life outside of school.

Special Library Association

There are a variety of libraries that serve special collections. These are known as "Special Libraries"

Special Library Association

This particular association focuses on the need of member that work in academic, corporate and governmental library professionals. I'm getting the sense reading through the website they make it clear that they are really focusing on Information professionals.

In today marketplace that is not just restricted to librarians but to those individuals that use information as a method of supporting the goals of the company that employ them.

For example, News Librarians use all of the skills of research and information gathering but those skills are using to support the newspaper, magazine or broadcast news industry.

There is also the Transportation division of that focuses on transportation issues. This will include air, land, water, rail mass transit and a host of other information research.

The SLA is a membership organization that provide job and career information, research and networking opportunities to the membership.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Creating Tutorials & Demos - AuthorStream & AuthorPoint Lite

AuthorStream is a service that allows you to upload Microsoft Powerpoint presentations and host on the site. This may leave users of other presentation software out of luck unless OpenOffice Impress and Apple Keynote users convert the presentation to the .PPT or .PPS formats.



This is an example of an AuthorStream presentation. AuthorStream is free. I checked out the FAQ and you do have choices such as:
  • Your presentation can be private or public. Private presentations can be uploaded but only those who are given an invitation can view the presentation. Public presentations (like the examples I've posted below) are open to be viewed and shared by any user.
  • You can make use of some of the transitions available in PowerPoint, but trust me, less is more.
  • You can have an RSS feed that folks could subscribe to your presentations.
With any of the free hosting services I do feel the need to mention if they disappear or go out of business so does your presentation. Make sure you have a back-up copy.

Other Examples from AuthorStream:
AuthorPoint Lite

Here is where it gets interesting. AuthorPoint Lite is a free PowerPoint to Flash converter. You create your presentation, convert it using AuthorPoint Lite and then upload it to AuthorStream or your blog/website (if you know how to code the HTML)

Flash Animations can be seen by most users so it is (almost) a universal format. There are some accessibility issues. If you like the format of AuthorStream and are looking for a way to upload via Flash animations you should check out the information page.

AuthorGen (creators of AuthorStream and AuthoPoint Lite) do have a commerical version of the product for sale that has additional features.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Creating Tutorials & Demos - SlideShare.Net

Another option for creating and hosting your tutorial slide presentations is to use one of presentation creations and hosting sites.



SlideShare.net is a free web host for PowerPoint, OpenOffice and Keynote presentation software. You upload them to the website and you can copy the code to place in your blog or website.

You also can add audio to your slide using the SlideCast feature. Basically you create your presentation, your audio mp3 track and SlideCast helps you to synchronize and the provide the links for your presentation.

Here are a few tutorials created and uploaded to SlideShare.net

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Mrs. Kim's Employment Opportunities

For those on the employment track check out these new position openings:

PCC Shatford Library has an opening for a student assistant position. 20 hrs./week; $7.75/hr. Contact Ms. Jo Ann Ohanesian at (626) 585-7835

Victor Valley College (in Victorville, CA) has a full-time Library Technician. Salary: $3,083/month plus fringe benefits; Hours: M-Th 12:30-9 pm, F 7:30 am-4 pm.; visit website or call (760) 245-4271, ext. 2500.

The Braun Research Library will be selecting a paid intern ($3,500) for summer 2008. This internship is to provide work training to undergraduates who intend to go into the library or museum careers. One of our LT students was selected two years ago and she enjoyed this internship immensely.

Chapman University (Orange, CA) has four library/media related positions. Visit and find out more information.
  • Library Assistant II (Acquisitions) Job #110-07; Full-time
  • Library Assistant II (Acquisitions - Law Library), Job #82-07; Full-time
  • Media Services Technician, Job #125-07; full-time
  • Library Systemns Technician (part-time; 19 hours/week), Job # 74-07

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Creating Tutorials & Demos – Commerical Software Converters

Just a reminder, classes start next week. In a month or two you will begin preparing for class presentations. For those that have been following the tutorial creation series I'm sorry about last week.

That was painful but I needed to show you that you could use your existing programs to get tutorials and demonstration on the Internet. Using those tools it is possible but time intensive and challenging. It does not have to be that way.

There are commercial products that can make the process easier. And yes money can be an issue but if you think you might create a lot of tutorials and demonstrations these products can save you time and money.

Commercial PowerPoint to Flash Animation Converters

If you absolutely need to use PowerPoint but you don’t want to hassle with 2+ programs to create a tutorial then you should evaluate these programs. The good news is that you can download a trial version to see if it meets your needs before purchasing.

FlashPoint

Flash Point PowerPoint to Flash Converter is relatively inexpensive product that seems to be good for simple image/audio presentations. Here is a demonstration tutorial. Product users have a gallery page of presentations that they have created.


SwishPresenter

Swish Presenter is a PowerPoint to Flash animation converter. Features that are included are the ability to add voice narration and transition effects. Visit Swishzone to view a slide demo created by the product.

Wild Presenter Product Line

Wild Presenter can help you construct a presentation from your photos or make it easy to transfer Microsoft PowerPoint presentations to a Flash animation format. You can view a demonstration of this product by clicking the product photo.

Monday, August 20, 2007

USC Wilson Dental Library Assistant Position

Thank Carol Siu for this one folks. The USC Wilson Dental Library is looking for a full time library assistant for the dental school.

Essential Information:

Pay Range is between $13 to $15 an hour
Work schedule is Tuesday-Friday, 10:00am-6:30pm and Saturday, 8:45am-5:15pm.

Details:
  • Monitor and staff circulation desk. Duties include processing overdues, fines, library card applications and missing book/journal procedures.
  • Processes new material received from cataloging. Includes verification of title, status, call number, and holdings in online catalog (HELIX) and referring problems/questions to a librarian.
  • Prepares print and online bibliographic records for internal processing and web-based “new Library Books” program.
  • Assists in the de-selection of library materials including records maintenance and materials dispersal. Processes classed serials as directed. Sends material to cataloging for processing. Compiles statistics.
  • Processes and maintains Reserve Book Collection including researching new editions and new titles, resolves incomplete or incorrect citations, and maintains reserve statistics. On a trimester basis, solicits and processes faculty Reserve title lists.
If you are ready to yell "Go Trojans" then visit the USC Employment Opportunities page. The Requisition Number for this position is H14801 and there is much more information about this position and the benefits of working on the USC Campus.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Creating Tutorials & Demos - Converting Presentations to Tutorials

You have presentation software. You may have a copy of:
  • Microsoft PowerPoint (Windows & Macintosh versions)
  • Corel Presentation (Windows)
  • OpenOffice Impress (Windows, Macintosh and Linux versions) or some equivalent of a presentation program.
Advantages
  • You can quickly build simple presentations or make them as complex as you need.
  • The ability to export out an individual side or a complete slide presentation in .gif, .jpg/jpeg or .png formats. This gives you the ability to use another program to upload to a blog or website.
  • Some of the programs can export out to the Adobe.pdf and Flash.swf formats.
Disadvantages:
  • In the native file formats it is hard or impossible to post on a website or blog.
  • You still need a photo or video web host and the code necessary to display on your blog or website.
  • In the case of Microsoft PowerPoint you can post presentations on-line. However if the user is not using Microsoft Internet Explorer they may not see the presentation or certain features will be disabled.
  • The process is not as simple as it needs to be for novice users. It is a time swamp for those that have experience.
Since the goal is to upload the tutorial or demo for on line viewing that it where attention will be focused.

If you have “An old PC that runs Windows 95/98/Windows ME and next to no budget” option.

(Please tell me that this computer is not connected to the Internet and that you are doing the presentation on that computer but you will walk it over to an updated XP/Vista computer. On second thought, I don't want to know.)

There is an oldie but goodie known as DubIt from TechSmith. DubIt allows you to import photos and slides from presentations saved in the .gif and .jpg formats. You can add music or audio narration. DubIt saves the tutorial in either the .avi (an older windows movie video format) or Real Media format. I suggest that you save it in the .avi format.

You can then upload to a free video web host like Blip.tv, OurMedia.org or TeacherTube After you have uploaded the video you will then copy the code necessary to display the tutorial on your blog or web site. It is the same concept you used when you uploaded your photos to a photo web hosting site.


This is an example of how I created the above tutorial using DubIt.

If you have “An new PC that runs Windows XP and next to no budget” then you can take advantage of Microsoft Photo Story 3. It is free to legal owners of Windows XP. It is a similar process, you export presentation in either .gif or jpg/jpeg format and then import them into Microsoft Photo Story 3.


I have to tell you there are much easier ways of doing this. There are a bunch of pitfalls that can occur such as losing audio when converting into another format or unexpected glitches that you have to spend time figuring out.

Next time - the online slide creation applications.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

BookShare - Online Accessible Library

BookShare.org has a clearly defined purpose; to provide online access to print publications to blind and visually impaired readers.

Contemporary books and materials in the public domain are digitized and converted into the Braille format or converted into the digital talking book format. These can then be downloaded into the appropriate device.

CBS News did a news segment on the founder of BookShare in the QuickTime video format.

Currently there are 6,000+ subscribers and the content is in English and Spanish. Unlike other free book archives, only those people that legal qualify as being blind or vision impaired can download contemporary books and publications. The public domain materials are available to all users.

It is a good resource to pass on to a friend.
http://www.bookshare.org

Grant for Community College Librarianship

No one involved with a community college can question their importance to the community.

And what good is a community college without a healthy library supporting the educational needs of the community? If you think you would like to work in a community college library, Mrs. Kim has contributed the following information.

NILRC
has a grant opportunity for those folks interesting in becoming community college librarians. The grant is for the education of 20 masters students at the Graduate School of Libraries and Information Sciences at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a paid six month internship at a community college in Illinois.

If you would like more information about this opportunity visit http://www.nilrc.org/Introduction.htm

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Creating Tutorials & Demos - Screen Captures

Screen captures are great for computer based tutorials and demonstrations. These images can be embedded in word processing documents, web pages, blogs or other types of documentation.

You can also use these images in a photo or slide animation tutorial or a flash animation movie.

OCLC Screen Capture Example

If you are a Window user your have the "Print Screen (aka Prt Scr) key on your keyboard. Mac Users (depending on what version of the operating system you are running) can press Shift+Command+3 or Command+4.

Teacher Tap has a really nice page to explain how to capture And if you want to see how you do a screen capture or grab you can watch this tutorial video from About.com, Capture and Save a Screen Shot in Windows XP with Don Schechter.

For those of you on Windows Vista check out Sue Chastain's article on Screen Capture with Windows Vista

However, the built in print screen functions have limits and liabilities: The image file in the clipboard is saved in the .bmp (on the Windows operating system). If you need to post the image on the Internet you will have to first paste it in a photo editing software and then convert it to a .gif, .jpg or .png image file.

In addition you can only grab the entire screen or the active window. You then would have to spend more effort customizing the image to get what you want.

Benefits of Screen Capture Software

These applications give you are lot of choices and features that can help to speed up the process of snagging screen images. Some of the advantages are:
  • You can zoom in on just the region of the screen you want to concentrate on,
  • You can select the file format that best suites your needs
  • You can add captions, call outs or have the cursor appear or not appear
Free Windows Screen Capture Software
  • Gadwin Print Screen 4.1 - I have been using Gadwin Print Screen for years. It is clean, simple and gets the job done. The free version can capture a region of the screen, an active window or the full screen.
  • Screen Grab 1.1. Extremely small file size and no mouse necessary
  • SWB Capture - If you have an old computer running Windows 95, 98, 2000 or ME this is the software for you. It can only capture full screen or the active window like the Print Screen key but does give you the choice of saving in .gif or .jpg.
Commercial Screen Capture Software - Windows
  • Capture-Eze I've used this product on my day job and it is fine. The new version can save to a high resolution .tiff file, print image catalogs and Internet pages.
  • Gadwin Print Screen Pro the paid version comes with an image editor and you have the ability to add captions or annotations to you images.
  • Gadwin Web Snap Shots adds a feature to Microsoft Internet Explorer that allows you to snap images of web pages with annotations.
  • Snag-It from TechSmith is an excellent full featured screen capturing program. If you are going to create tutorials on a regular basis. This is the one to have, it can do everything you will need or ever need at a very fair price. And for those of you that Skype, you can send a screen shot or video as your conference call is in progress.
Macintosh Screen Capture Software
  • Ambrosia Software SnapPro - captures images and can create movies from screen activities. This is a link to a short video by Tom Woozle on how simple it is to use the program. Saves images in .bmp, .gif, .jpg, .png, .tif and Adobe and Photoshop formats
  • Paparazzi is free screen capture software for Mac OX 10.3 and above users.
  • ScreenTool can record the active window, full screen in addition to timed/sequential image captures.
Paparazzi MacOS X Screen Capture

Next time - what are you going to do with those images? Animate them via slide shows (no, not necessarily with PowerPoint). We'll look at the free online slide show and presentation program that can display your presentations, tutorials and demonstrations.