Hey, can you stop what you're doing and proofread this for me?

GrammarlyAbout two months ago or so an ad popped up while I was watching a YouTube video about Grammarly. The ad indicated it can check your spelling and grammar for free! I feel like I’m always asking someone (way smarter than me)to check my work for mistakes, and when I saw this ad I thought I would give it a try to see how well it worked. This article is going to be all me and Grammarly, so be kind in the comments if you find any mistakes, please.


You can download Grammarly from there website for free. They have a version for Microsoft Office and for web browsers. I downloaded both options just to try out. If you happen to write a lot more than I do and would like a more robust version, they do offer a subscription version.


I wrote this in Word with Grammarly turned off until this point. I intentionally misspelled a couple words, which I fixed that both Microsoft Office Spell Checker and Grammarly caught. I also left out a comma (not intentional) between mistakes and please at the end of the first paragraph that Grammarly said should be there.


I’m also getting an alert from Grammarly that it see’s five more mistakes that the Premium version will fix. Not today it won’t! Those are for you to find!

YouTube Tips and Tricks

    Is there anyone that doesn't know what YouTube is?  There isn't a day goes by that I am not on YouTube watching/listening to something either while I do my hair and makeup in the morning or making dinner at night.  If you are anything like me and you watch YouTube videos then you watch regular TV then you might already know these tips and tricks.  If not, here are some tips and tricks that I use when watching YouTube videos.

Loop a video:

    Have a song you can't get enough of?  YouTube will loop (continuously play) it for you.  Simply right click the video and select Loop.

 

Share a video at a certain time:

    Want to share a cute cat video with your friends but the real action doesn't start until 1:00 into the video?  No problem, just click Share at the bottom of the video and check the box Start at and enter a time.  Then choose how to share the video.   Share a video at a certain time

 

 

 

 

 

 

Captions:

    Maybe you are waiting in line at Starbucks and you don't have headphones.  Turn on the captions!  Captions are not available on all videos, but if it is you can click on the CC button on the bottom of the video. 

 

Watch Later:

    This is my most used tip for YouTube.  Let's say I'm watching a video and on the side of the video player is a couple similar videos I want to watch next.  Put your cursor on the thumbnail for the video and an option will appear in the upper right corner that looks like a clock.  This will add it to your Watch Later playlist which you can access anytime in the left menu bar of YouTube.

 

 Quick way to pause video:

    Almost get caught watching a cat video while at work when your boss walked in?  Simply press the space bar on the keyboard to pause the video fast.

 

Transcript:

    Watching a video for educational purposes but missed a quote?  You can view a transcript of the video easily.  Click on the three dots at the bottom of the video by the share button and select Open Transcript.  This displays the captions essentially and time stamps which you can click on to view that part of the video.     

View this photo

 

 

Google now showing where to borrow ebooks

GoogleebookThis week Google added a new feature to their search results. When you look up a book title on Google, the results will now show a listing of libraries that have the ebook version available to borrow.

The listing shows up in the “quick facts” box either above or next to the search results, depending on whether you’re on a PC or a mobile. The feature is available on both PCs and mobile devices in the US.

I did some experimenting and it appears the information is coming from OverDrive.  Clicking on the link for “Wisconsin Public Library Consortium: South Central Library System – Madiso” brought me directly to the OverDrive page for the book and prompted for a sign in. The local library name at the end of the link will change depending on where you are or if you enter a new location in the “Edit location” window.

One thing I did note is that if you’re searching for a book that also has a movie adaptation, the “quick facts” may default to the movie information, not the book.  Searching for "The Hobbit" originally returned information about the films but adding "book" after the title got me the listing above.

Upcoming Tech Continuing Education

LauraSolomon-captionLaura Solomon, the Library Services Manager for the Ohio Public Library Information Network, is the morning speaker for this year's Tech Days. The workshop will be held on September 12 from 9 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. at the Fitchburg Public Library and registration is now open. Choose from six different breakout sessions for the afternoon including STEM Programming with No Budget, #Hashtag: Promoting Your Library through Social Media, and our own Craig Ellefson and Tamara Ramski talking about the Digitization Kits.

If you're not attending the Wisconsin Library Association Conference, check out this opportunity. On October 18, Library Journal and School Library Journal are hosting their 8th annual FREE TechKnowledge (formerly the Digital Shift) Virtual Conference. This year's theme is Creating Equity Through Technology. Among this year's presenters are Jim Neal, the President of the American Library Association.

If you are attending the Wisconsin Library Association Conference* (and I really hope you do!), we are pleased to have some great technology programs for you including a keynote from Linda Liukas, a Finnish computer programmer and children's author, and Jessamyn West, library technologist, will be the WLTF luncheon speaker on Thursday. Registration will be open soon!

Also in October, the iSchool at UW Madison has a new course called 25 Free Tools for Librarians* that sounds awesome. Among the tools that will be covered are Wunderlist, Todo, Notability, Dragon, Convertible, Instapaper, and Kahoot. If I weren't otherwise occupied in October, I'd be signing up for this one!

Happy Learning!

** SCLS Member public libraries may use CE Grant funds to attend.

 

Create strong passwords with a roll of the dice

From the American Libraries Magazine; 5/1/2017.
Meredith Powers, young adult librarian at Brooklyn (N.Y.) Public Library (BPL) teaches workshops on digital literacy and data privacy as part of the Data Privacy Project, which is funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Knight Foundation’s Prototype Fund. Password security is always a hot topic.
She says that Diceware is an easy way to teach patrons how to create better passwords for their library, service, and email accounts. By rolling an ordinary die, users create a five-digit number that dicecorresponds to a word in a Diceware word list. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) maintains multiple Diceware word lists.
“Even though the list of words is publicly available, the security of a Diceware password comes from the number of words selected and the number of available words on a Diceware list,” Powers says. “By rolling dice to create several words in a sequence, you can create a strong, memorable passphrase. The creator of Diceware, Arnold Reinhold, currently recommends a six-word sequence to protect against a brute-force hack attempt.”

Calling all Techies!

TechDayDo you have a tech tool you use that can help make library work easier, a technology program or service that draws adults, teens or children into your doors, or a cool application you found or created for library use?  If so, think about sharing with your library colleagues at Tech Days in September!  We are looking for presenters who can share gadgets, emerging trends, apps, innovative tools, social media, coding, e-content, privacy, makerspaces, Google services, and how to teach tech to patrons. 

Each afternoon breakout session at Tech Days will last one (1) hour: 45 minutes of presentation + 15 minutes for attendees' questions.  Alternately, your presentation can be 15 minutes in length, and we will group your session with 2 other 15-minute presentations.  You can do one all by yourself or bring together a team.

You can pick any or all dates and locations for your presentation:

  • Tuesday, September 12th at Fitchburg Public Library (Dane County)
  • Wednesday, September 13th at Mosquito Hill Nature Center just outside of New London (Outagamie County), or
  • Thursday, September 14th at Franklin Public Library (Milwaukee County)

Presenters will receive mileage reimbursement and a complimentary lunch.

Click on the link below and tell us what you'd like to show and share:

Tech Days presentation submission form:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/XSQL7ZL

Tech Days is sponsored and coordinated by Winnefox Library System, Outagamie-Waupaca Library System, Manitowoc-Calumet Library System, Nicolet Federated Library System, South Central Library System, and the Southeastern Wisconsin (SEWI) library systems – Arrowhead Library System, Bridges Library System, Kenosha County Library System, Lakeshores Library System, Milwaukee County Federated Library System, Monarch Library System – and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

Questions?  Contact Jean Anderson at SCLS or Joy Schwarz, Winnefox Library System (email: schwarz@winnefox.org or phone: 920-236-5218)

 

Is that shortened URL safe or not?

Shortened URLs are very popular and are used quite frequently on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. They have been around for a while and we've even written about them in past TechBits articles.  (Shorter URLs and Sneaky little URLs)

Is that shortened URL safe?Just because shortened URLs been around a while doesn't mean they're always safe to click on though.  For example, if you saw a Facebook post that said that http://bit.ly/2pmmQqK was a video of two Olympic hopeful figure skaters, would you know if it was safe or not?  Where is the link really going to take you?  Well, now there is a website that will both tell you where it is really going and also let you know if it is a safe site or not.  The web site address is http://getlinkinfo.com.  This website works with all of the URL shortening services out there, shows you where the URL is really going and lets you know if the URL is safe or not.  Test it out with the shortened URL that I gave you earlier in the article.  Then once you know that it's safe and where it's going you can click on the link and enjoy the show.

(Photo by mensatic at Morguefile.com)

Cleaning up your patron database - address verification tools.

Interested in cleaning up and verifying address information in your patron records?  Here are some free tools to help you out. 

Free address look-up tools:

  • SmartyStreets: 250 free lookups every month.
  • Experian data quality: verify up to 500 addresses for free against the USPS database (no mention if per month or total).
  • American Factfinder Address lookup: provided by the U.S. Census Bureau, this tool has been used by LINKcat libraries for years to determine the municipality of a patron's legal place of residence.  Provides geographical, municipal and political information about the address you submit.
  • USPS provides address verification and change of address (COA) tools, many through vendors that may allow a set number of free searches and require payment after that.
    • The Zip+4 Code Lookup tool can be used to confirm street address, City and zip code information.
    • Viewing the USPS change-of-address database (NCOA) requires end-user certification and licensing.  There are multiple vendors that are certified and licensed to provide this service; the amounts charged vary according to the number of addresses submitted. 

Bulk address mapping tool:

  • BatchGeo:  up to 250 addresses mapped for free each month.  Allows you to map out a set of addresses, from Excel format, so you can look at the set and see if any of the addresses you submitted lie outside of the range you are confirming.  For example, if you have a set of addresses that are marked as being in the "Town of X", use the BatchGeo mapping software to confirm that all of the addresses lie within that town.  If not, use the American FactFinder Address lookup tool to find the correct municipality for an address.

HINT: using the USPS standardized data entry formats may expedite searching, especially when using the  U.S. Census Bureau's American FactFinder Address lookup.

USPS Publication 28 - Postal Addressing Standards

  • Appendix B - Two-Letter State and Possession Abbreviations (p. 55)
  • Appendix C - Street Abbreviations (p. 59)
  • Appendix F - Address Standardization — County, State, Local Highways (p. 79)

 

Email list solutions

Mailinglist-800pxThe December 2016 issue of Computers in Libraries included a very informative article on "Next-Level Emailing."  In it, Jessamyn West discussed why email lists are helpful and reviewed MailChimp, TinyLetter, and Medium--some lower-cost (or free) alternatives to Constant Contact.  If you've been wondering how to choose an email list solution and what options are out there, you might want to give it a read.

Permalink to the article (accessible by staff in libraries on the SCLS network)

If you're outside the library and have access to EBSCOhost (either through SCLS or through BadgerLink, for example), you can pretty easily find the article with a quick search for "Next Level Emailing."

Thermal Technologies

Zebra Printer, it's a little larger than the Dymo printerFor centuries man has been printing spine labels, but not all spine labels have been created equal. No -- as a matter of fact, some spine labels fade when exposed to sunlight or heat. "Why is this?" you may be asking. Simply put, it’s a difference in the thermal printing technology used when making the label. Some printers use a direct thermal approach while others use a thermal transfer method. Labels that are prone to fading over time use the direct thermal method where the label is chemically treated to react to heat. You may notice if you get a receipt from the gas pump and leave it in your car on a hot summer day it’s almost unreadable within two or three days. That’s because the chemicals in the paper are reacting to the heat in your car. The thermal transfer method in my opinion is better because the labels are not chemically treated, instead the printer has a wax or resin ribbon that a heated print head touches to apply the print to the label. This is a lot like the old method of using a dot matrix printer with a ribbon that transferred ink to the label.

The advantage of using the thermal transfer method is that the labels don’t fade over time. The downside is you have to buy a printer that supports this type of printing along with new labels and ribbons.

We started testing the Zebra TLP2824 thermal transfer printer back in September and have had really good results with it. We are now offering this printer to the libraries at a cost of $294.00 per printer. We will also order the first roll of labels and ribbon to get you started. I will give you more information after you purchase the printer on where to get the labels and ribbons in the future.

DuraReady Labels (peeled and unpeeled)If you’re not ready to commit to purchasing a new printer and supplies but would like labels that don’t fade, you could try DuraReady labels that work with the current Dymo LabelWriter 450 printers. These labels are a little odd in that they have a ribbon attached to the label itself so you get the non-fading qualities of a thermal transfer printer without having to change printers. The downsides to this label are you can’t really see what you’re printing until you peel off the ribbon, and you have to peel off the ribbon which can sometimes leave a light smudge on the label.

I have one roll of the 1” x 1” DuraReady labels to give away to the first person to ask for them. I would like to get some feedback from you on how likely you are to use them in the future.

(BTW, I do find Emily to be a little annoying.) Sometimes more than a little:)