print it!

June 15, 2016 Leave a comment

Print has been on my mind and apparently on others too…Two stories strike me:


NASIG‘s recent conference in Albuquerque had a session “E-books for the Classroom & Open Access Textbooks: Two ways to help students save money on textbooks” which [full disclosure] I did not attend. However, one of my colleagues did and told me about it. Sounds great – basically the University of South Florida noticed the extremely high costs of textbooks and looked at ways to solve this.  Fantastic!  Their way seems to be moving in an “e” direction. I understand this, providing the “e” is cheaper but …most students are saying they prefer print to e. Check it out: Tech Times, Washington Post, Education Week. I would love to see a session bringing that into the mix of cost and access. What would you do as a poor student?


Lately on Serialst there has been a lovely discussion which confirms the move away from print serials to electronic. Some noted that they are retaining print due to:

  • unavailable electronically
  • cannot afford the electronic version
  • continuing historic collection / preservation

Again cost rears up. Isn’t it interesting that print is cheaper for journals but more expensive for books? Also, here we have preservation coming up – students note that having the print textbook is something they can markup and keep for future consultation. You can do markup in the e too, or so my apps tell me, but they prefer print. And then we have preservation …

Paper. It lasts and lasts doesn’t it?



Categories: Access, books, e-books, serials

Handwriting on the wall

June 10, 2016 Leave a comment

and everywhere else!

I knew it! I knew handwritten was important! this lovely article explains the link between handwriting notes and typing away on your machine.

Of course, it does not explain how to read my writing but that is another story…

Thirsty for more?

Mike Rowe, I’ve loved you for a very long time. I love how you glory the non-glamorous. Love how you speak out for the unspoken (careers, that is). I could not possibly agree with you more on the beauty of skilled labor*; on the idea that college is NOT for everyone; on the thought that blue collar is not inherently less but is, in fact, much much more.

Now I find that you are rocking my thirst for knowledge. My need for info – bites. My desire for your voice to stream erudite in my ear. I haven’t been so happy since I found Mental Floss!

Check out the new The Way I Heard It for mini-bits of Rowe knowledge. I only presume he is working with a professional to ensure the facts are checked and double checked before each episode is recorded. If not, I know a whole bevy of librarians who’d be happy to help –

Psst, learn more about the trades and options available at Mike Rowe Works by going to your local library. We carry tons of information on every possible trade … and if we don’t have it there, we can get it for you. NO CHARGE!

*Funny! Wikipedia notes ‘skilled labor’ as not just the trades & getting your hands dirty but also notes computer skills, accountants, etc. … skill is skill is skill. And labor is key in every job.


Park it where?

I love my job. I love traveling to all sorts of libraries all across the land to provide service and help. It thrills me to be allowed into all these venerable institutions, to listen and learn and perhaps make their lives easier with services.

What I do not always enjoy is the game “find the library” and “find the parking”. Each new-to-me institution is a new adventure which often involves the quickly squashed hope of finding exactly where to go to park.

Some are wonderful. Wait, no, make that a few.  And others, whilst not gentle, are still doable/findable. Some librarians are long versed in the difficulties of ‘outsiders’ finding their homes and have developed lovely maps and …. dare I say it?  LibGuides for Parking. One very memorable librarian even extended the directions to indoors (“turn left at the green couch”). Another took the campus PDF and inserted very helpful notes (seriously thought the “too far” was “too fat” and wondered what that meant).

Most however are exercises in frustration. Hours spend trying to enlarge the type on the campus provided map.  Why, oh why can the library not be listed in the map legend as “library”?  I don’t always know that it is called Jim Bob Book Learnin’ Place and have spend up to 20 minutes trying to find it on the itty bitty PDF (enlarged for my old eyes then many, many, many mouse moves to examine each inch). The ‘interactive’ maps are even worse – they quickly zoom down to the library (when you have the right name) but how do I find it from parking/walking? And can I get a print* to take with me on my trek?

Then there is the adventure of where am I allowed to park? Can I park? Do I need a pass? Where do I get a pass? What documents do I need (insurance, license plate, driver’s license, blood type, DNA sample…)? Does it cost? Can I pay with credit? Do I need cash? Do I need quarters (yes, this has happened)?

Sigh. OK. Back to figuring it all out.

*yes, fine, I am a Luddite who likes the printed map. I like to see the bigger picture. And since the GPS does not lead me to parking on your campus … it is necessary.

Categories: humor, librarian, travel Tags: ,

Presenting online

Online training, online demos, online EVERYTHING! It is cheaper and more cost effective, very true. But the success of such an event really comes down to the following:

1. Presenter.

2. Material.

3. Audience.

All three need to work together in a weird sort of synchronicity. The most vibrate presentation can be ruined by a dull speaker. The best speaker can be stymied by bad materials.  The audience can ruin or enhance the whole experience.

Presenters – practice if you have never presented in an online environment (WebEx, Connect, GotoMeeting, etc). Heck, practice if you are using a different program than usual, each one has neato cool stuff with different ways to use them. Gather your friends and have them log in. Record and listen to yourself. Ensure you know the program – how do you import slides, go to live websites, type text for the audience to see, etc.  Become familiar with the tools and tricks of the world you will inhabit.

Material – evaluate both the type of presentation and the audience before developing your materials.  Are you training or giving a sales/marketing pitch? Different approaches and materials will be needed. Also, check your online environment to ensure a smooth use of whatever you wish to use – does the system interact well with Prezi or does it freeze? Is there a preferred browser for websites? Find out before you spent time creating your presentation.

Audience – the key to everything. Who is going to be there? What do they expect? Is it a really big group? Is there a”live audience” with an online audience? Let’s spend some time here, mmkay?

With a mixed audience (live and online), the presenter needs to aware of the invisible audience. That microphone the techies so lovingly setup for you? It is really necessary for the online audience to hear you – even if the live audience can hear you just fine when you walk 20 feet away from the microphone. Be sure to engage the online group as well as the live folk, check the chat, repeat questions given in the live event into the microphone for the online audience.

Do you use a laser pointer? Great! You do realize the online audience has no idea you are pointing to anything, right? They cannot see the fancy cat toy burning a hole into the screen, so use your words to explain what you are doing.

In an online-only environment, the non-reaction and non-feedback can befuddle a presenter used to hearing or seeing reactions.  The presenter is generally alone in front of a computer, speaking into a headset and hoping the audience is hearing and engaging but the only way to know is if the audience types in chat, uses the online environment tools to clap or raise hands – worse is not knowing until the session ends and the evaluations are read (be sure to read these, it will help you present better in the future).

A great way to throw the presenter off-stride and to ensure the wrath of the rest of the audience is to keep the audience microphones live – ensuring all ambient noises echo thru the headsets and computer speakers across the land. It is wonderful to be able to ask questions in an online event. It is great to be able to speak rather than type into chat (although chat is really my fav). However. The dogs barking, the doorbells ringing, the potato chip crunching, and the general static sound of several microphones will distract the audience from whatever the presenter is presenting. The best presenter with an awesome presentation will fail when the audience cannot hear.

Hands up – how many have attended a session online where one of the audience members puts the session on hold and everyone in the room is overcome with hold music? Please tell me that wasn’t you. BTW, Presenters, when someone puts you on hold they cannot hear you ask, repeatedly, “will whoever put us on hold please take us off hold”? But is it pretty funny that you say it so many times… it’s right up there with “If you can’t hear me, please let me know”. Both statements I have heard from multiple online presenters in a variety of sessions. It never gets old. No. Really. Never.

Be the best you can be – learn to mute, practice before, learn your environment as well as your material. Now, go succeed!

Counting on it

April 2, 2015 Leave a comment

It’s a new frontier in Metric land! New buzz is the “Alt” or “all” metrics products and I am totally excited about these possibilities.

Traditionally libraries and researchers track citation citations (that is, how often is my article cited by others) but this process can take years to come into its own. By the time an author puts together an article, finds a publisher, gets published then others read the article and write their own … it can be two or three years. Pre-publication and open source are helping but still, it takes time.  We live in a “NOW” society, we no longer have that time luxury.

Tweets, blogs, likes – these are our new frontier in seeing who is talking about what (or, as kids today say, ‘trending’). New products are springing up to track this information. There are plenty of products that track hits on your website or tell how about re-tweets but only a few that actually accumulate that information and focus to a particular person, article, paper, etc. Both Altmetric and Plum Analytics* do this – and both are pretty cool.

Publishers are also looking at this but not always including social media. Products like Elsevier’s newly (a year) purchased SciVal and the upgrade Pure provide great analysis but are limited in their purview. Scientific databases are where many researchers live but to really see the impact of your work you need to look at social media. Tweeting and Facebook/Instagram are not just for the kids. Many institutions have accounts and are actively promoting on each. They are pushing information out and a true measure includes these access points.

Information is not just in the research realm. It is not just “gee Dr. A wrote a great paper, I should write a paper too and cite his”. It is being used in more than just citation creation. Everyone talks about it…and tweets, blogs and likes it. Why wouldn’t you want to know who was talking about your life’s work? And where they are. And what they did. And who re-tweeted that message.

*full disclosure, I work for the company that owns Plum Analytics, but I’m pretty sure I’d be impressed without that connection.

Worse. Job. Ever.

June 20, 2014 1 comment

(says the Comic Book Guy on the Simpsons).  I’m in a great job now but when I feel less than happy with whatever, I think back to my Worse Job Ever and perspective jumps back in line.

Everyone has had them. Horrible bosses. Mean or stupid (or both) co-workers. Difficult patrons/library users/folk walking in the door. I was pleased my niece’s first job was her worse thus far (she has had only 2). She now can measure everything against Crazy Boss and not feel so angry about crumbs on the break room table (seriously people, is it that hard to wipe?).

Some jobs have bad moments. Some have bad weeks. Some have bad everything.

What was mine? Well my measuring stick is more about chairs. Seems in a former work environment we had a person who would, er, soil your chair. And by “soil” I mean like a baby using a diaper. To this day I am not sure if it was deliberate or not. He did not seem to notice nor care as a smelly, messy trail followed him from place to place. There were many other lovely things (this is sarcasm) at this place of employment  – co-workers attempting to drive over other co-workers in the parking lot, hiding spiders in your desk, searching your office and re-arranging things, and much much more!

Today is a brand new day. The sun is shining, the world is rounding,  and my chair is very clean.

Finally, fine print

June 16, 2014 1 comment

Do you read the licensing agreements that come with your purchases? You should. At the very least, you need to look for ‘hot’ spots such as ILL, perpetual access, and any restrictions.

Do you read, review and revise? you win! Best. Story. Ever.

Fly Like an Eagle

June 14, 2014 1 comment

to the sea and to the mountain and to the plains.  I fly. Alot. Most of it is part of The Job but sometimes it is personal and mostly it is all fun.


Having just done a marathon week of flying, jumping plane to plane to plane, I have to say (or type) a few things

1. For more than 10 years we have had to remove shoes to go thru airport security. It was in the news, on TV shows, heck several movies depict this adventure. Why are you surprised?

2. Psst. When they say “we will board in group order staring with Group 1 …” that means Group 4 will not be first to board, please move out of the way so Group 1 can get to the boarding area.

3. Why are you standing in the way as we exit the plane? Surely you realize we have to come off *before* you can come on?

4. Why are you stopping in the middle of the exit when you leave the plane? Could you not step aside to adjust your bag/look at your ticket/scratch your nether region?

5. For more than 10 years we have had to remove everything from pockets before going thru airport security. It was in the news, on TV shows, heck several movies depict this adventure. Why are you surprised?

6. Did you see the box showing the size for carry-ons? I’m pretty sure your full size, fully stuffed, suitcase is not going to fit and your pushing on it will not change that situation. Just give it to the flight attendant and move on to your seat so we can leave.

7. For more than 10 years we have had to remove laptops from cases before going thru airport security. It was in the news, on TV shows, heck several movies depict this adventure. Why are you surprised?

8. Ma’am the baby cannot help screaming during take-off/landing. The poor thing is in pain due to ear pressure. The mom is doing everything she can to help. Stop glaring at the poor woman.

9. For more than 10 years we have not been allowed to carry bottles of water/pop/soda thru airport security. It was in the news, on TV shows, heck several movies depict this adventure. Why are you surprised?

10. Sir, the flight attendant cannot legally seat you in the emergency row after you explained you just had open heart surgery and cannot walk. I understand you want more legroom, I do too but I’d also like a chance at living if something should happen to the plane and I have to use the emergency exit.

11.  Ma’am, if there is no more space for your rightly sized luggage, there is no more space. Your furious rant at the flight attendant does not magically make more room appear. Just give it to the flight attendant and move on to your seat so we can leave.

12. I understand you are trying to get to your seat but could you please watch your backpack? I’m bruised enough from bags hitting me as people go down the aisle.

12. We *all* have to use that bathroom, please wipe it up when you pee on the seat.

What is it that annoys you to distraction during travel?