Literature-Map

Literature-Map

Today, I just wanted to share a fun reader’s advisory tool, Literature-Map.  You simply search the name of an author you enjoy, and the site creates a word map of related authors.  It’s super simple and fun!  I can see this being very helpful in the library when a patron mentions an unfamiliar author and wants recommendations for similar works.

Here’s one I did for Michael Crichton:

literature map

Enjoy!
-Dee

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OpenCon2017 will be in Germany!

I want to use this post to boost a signal. OpenCon 2017 will be in Germany this year! Despite how many librarians care for and participate in Open in some form, very few were represented at the last conference. So, I’d like to encourage more librarian voices by increasing visibility a bit.  I wrote about my experience at OpenCon2016, which you can read here and here. Here is a small blurb from them.

OpenCon is more than a conference. It’s a platform for the next generation to learn about Open Access, Open Education, and Open Data, develop critical skills, and catalyze action toward a more open system for sharing the world’s information—from scholarly and scientific research, to educational materials, to digital research data. OpenCon 2017 is at the center of a growing community of thousands of students and early career academic professionals from across the world working to create an open system for research and education.

Applications to attend OpenCon 2017 in Berlin, Germany will open on June 27th.

I really suggest you keep your eye on the event and apply to attend.Applications will be opening soon. You can sign up for updates or get involved now by joining the community. The community is active, the projects are incredible, and the ability to link globally is powerful. It is a great experience, and if you cannot attend in person, you should look into checking in live online. Need more convincing, here are the videos from last years conference. Of if you want, browse the highlights.

LibGuides v2

LibGuides v2

Have you guys tried the new Springshare update, LibGuides v2?  I’ve only recently been playing around with my beta site, and I have to say I really like what I see so far.  One of the complaints I’ve had about some library websites in the past has been that they look to “LibGuides-esque.”   I’ve never liked the clunky appearance.  Let’s face it, the awesome thing about LibGuides has always been the ease of use for librarians, not the ease of use for patrons.  That being said, they’ve really listened to users and stepped up their game.  If you haven’t ordered your beta site for v2 yet, go ahead and do it.  It’s simple to use, and there’s a ton of documentation to help you get started.  You can even choose to import guides from your old site if you wish.  If you decide to use their CMS, you can create your entire site on LibGuides and even have a very non-guide looking homepage.  I give this new product two thumbs way up!

If LibGuides is out of your budget, you might consider trying out a free alternative such as SubjectsPlus.  Many libraries already use this product, and the guides look great.  The sites are responsive and user-friendly.   It was created by libraries for libraries, so you are just the audience they have in mind.  Give it a go!

No matter the type of library, there is bound to be a need for subject guides.  If traditional subject guides aren’t for your patrons or colleagues, think outside the box and try something new.  I hope to one day create a “behind the scenes” dashboard guide for our student workers to use.  Ideally, it will have training modules, schedules and contact information, as well as expected tasks or duties for each shift.  What innovative ideas do you have for using LibGuides or a similar product?

-Dee

Cas 1 – 0 Google Script

Cas 1 – 0 Google Script

Sometimes you have to step away from a problem to better be able to tackle it. I have been wrestling with my google apps script for weeks. After that last post, I put it away for a bit, but apparently not long enough. I had a goal: create a form using Google Apps Script that uploaded files and the recorded the information submitted. Seems simple enough.

It wasn’t.

But the difficulty was my fault, not the code. My brain didn’t formulate the problem the way I phrased it above. My brain had already decided how we were going to solve the problem. So I spent weeks playing with the code so that I had a form that uploaded a file to Google Drive, imported information into a Google Sheet, and sent an email that there was a new submission.

Are your eyes rolling yet? Continue reading “Cas 1 – 0 Google Script”

Professional Development on a Budget

Professional Development on a Budget

If you’re like me, opportunities to attend conferences and other professional development events are a pretty rare occurrence.  For one thing, I work at a very small, private institution.  I have a very odd job description (read: I have A LOT of responsibilities), including all “systems” activities, as well as all reference and instruction classes for the university, and the ever present “other duties as assigned.”  Also, if you read my February post, you’ll remember that my university, and subsequently my library, was heavily damaged when our campus sustained a direct hit from a tornado on January 21st of this year.  (We’re recovering quite well, by the way!)  So… for reasons beyond my control, it isn’t feasible for me to be away from the office.

Long story short: travel and spending isn’t an option right now, BUT I find other ways to make sure I’m working on professional development and growth.  One thing I really enjoy is finding free recorded webinars that I can complete on my own time.  You can find them on just about anything; topics include technical services, reference, information literacy, customer service, collection development, programming, and just about anything else.

Today, I thought I’d share just a few of my favorite resources for free webinars:

I think webinars sometimes get a bad rap, but I personally really enjoy and appreciate the opportunity to learn from others what they are doing in their own libraries and about up and coming trends in library land without breaking the budget.  Being able to complete them on my own time is well worth the wait for the recording, rather than attending in real time because I rarely get to begin and finish any task without interruption.  There are tons of resources out there beyond the ones I’ve provided, so don’t be afraid to get out there and Google your specific webinar needs.

Happy developing!
-Dee

Nightmare on GoogleApps Script

Nightmare on GoogleApps Script

If it isn’t obvious by now, I often take projects that force me to learn new things. This was not one of those times. As part of some committee work, I agreed to help build a form for member submissions to a social media platforms run by the organization (e.g. submit your twitter or blog post here!).

It seemed straight forward, until I realized Google Forms doesn’t have an upload option on the free version. Ok. So I went on to search other options. I found that many people used a combo of Google’s Drive and GoogleApps Script to code a Google Forms-esque upload form. I copied the code to my personal drive, and womp! It would not run, even in its initial iteration. I would just get a blank screen.

To be completely honest with everyone, I’m still not completely sure why the code would not work for me. I was sure it was an ID10-T user error, but after sending my sysadmin friend a video of what I was doing, he was stumped as well. It was working for him. He could run it with no issues, and it seemed like I was doing all the same things he was doing. After about an hour of tinkering, which left me with a deep desire to flip my desk, I closed the window to revisit later.

Later has not quite come yet; I started this project only four days ago. This post is a testament that using tech is never all success without complication. It’s completely ok to fail or hit a set-back. This is why you start things a month before they are due (take that procrastination brain). I’m jumping back into it today, hopefully. Expect a follow-up post once I get the code to submit, but for now, happy tinkering!

-Cas

Infographics

Infographics

Let’s talk about infographics!  Infographics are great way to get a message across with visual interest.  I especially like to use infographics when I teach library instruction classes.  I find that if I can give my students handouts highlighting the key points of our discussion, they pay more attention and are more interactive throughout the class.  I suspect this is because they aren’t frantically trying to write down everything I say.  I’ve also learned that it’s important how the information is presented.  When I first began teaching instruction classes, I gave my students WAY too much information.  Trust me, they aren’t going to read a packet full of library information.  They might even leave it sitting on the table when they leave.  (Ouch!)   However, they will almost always take a cool infographic with them.

If you’ve read my past posts, you probably know I’m a huge fan of Canva.  Canva is my “go to” when it comes to anything graphic design related.  It’s easy for me, a non-designer, to create a great looking graphic with this program.  Simply choose the infographic template option and start designing.

I’ll mention a couple more options for you if you’re ready to create your first infographic: Piktochart and Venngage.  Piktochart is specifically made for the design of infographics, meaning you can get a little more sophisticated with your layout than with Canva.  You can sign up for free and accomplish just about anything you’d like in a graphic.  Their support and tutorials are fantastic, and I can’t really tell you anything they haven’t already covered.  I suggest you just jump right in and get your feet wet.  Here’s a quick overview of their product.  Once you start playing around, you’ll notice the layout is very similar to Canva. Continue reading “Infographics”