This past week all of YouTube went down.  The site was only down for about an hour but, by the sounds of the news the next Monitor-1350918_960_720morning, some people called the cops over the outage. 

While I don’t think any of you think 911 is the correct place to check to see if a website is down, if you have general internet connectivity but just can’t seem to get to a specific site, there are a number of ways you can check to see if the site is having issues. 

Larger sites may have a status webpage and some use Twitter, Facebook or another social media site to post site issues.  A number of larger sites will use all of the above to report if there are issues.  One method of checking on a site is to try searching for the name of the site/service and “status” to see if it will bring up a status web page or point you to their social media account(s). 

There are also a number of websites where you can check that status of a specific webpage.  I’m mentioning more than one since, during the YouTube outage, at least one of the sites used to check to see if a site is down had issues due to the sheer volume of people checking to see if YouTube was down.

Down for everyone or just me: https://downforeveryoneorjustme.com/  Enter in the URL for a website and it will tell you if the site is down, up or might be experiencing troubles.

Is it Down Right Now:  https://www.isitdownrightnow.com/  This site has the same “check” ability but also lists the current status of a number of major sites.   

Downdetector.com  https://downdetector.com/ There are buttons on the page for many, many web pages.  On each of the buttons is a graph showing the recent problem history and, if you click on the button, you’ll go to a specific page for that site with more information.  Instead of entering in the URL, use the company name in the search box to see if that site status is being tracked.

 

Mapping your data - the U.S. Census Bureau

If you work in a  LINKcat library you are probably very familiar with the U.S. Census Bureau American FactFinder tool. We use the Geographies/Address option to identify the "legal place of residence" for our patron records; from city, town, village, census tract and municipal wards.  This information is critical for the annual reports we provide the State of Wisconsin and also helps our communities provide accurate information about the density of their patron population and geographic use locations for their community reports.

But the U.S. Census Bureau has so much more.  One of my sidetracks is also located in the Geography area - Maps & Data.   You can map all kinds of data from this point using a variety of data points to produce a multiplicity of results.  Learning how to use this will take some time but if you are a map nerd like me you can get very very lost.  But there are maps!

Wikipedia and Libraries

Image-1I love Wikipedia and probably use it daily to find answers to questions like "How many seasons of the show the Librarians are there?" Yet, as a librarian I feel like I can't fully trust it. Well, guess what? OCLC developed a training program that helps librarians learn to use Wikipedia more effectively and, better yet, trains them to edit Wikipedia entries. The materials were originally developed for a nine-week WebJunction course, and now they are available for all libraries to use.

https://www.webjunction.org/explore-topics/wikipedia-libraries/training-curriculum.html

Wikipedia + Librarians, because librarians ROCK!

 

 

Convert web pages to PDF for printing/saving in Chrome and Firefox

Some time ago I came across a handy extension available for Chrome and Firefox called Print Friendly & PDF. You can use this extension to generate PDF files from web pages that can be used to either print or save the web page as a PDF file. However, I have noticed that the extension doesn't work exactly the same in both browsers. 

Pdf-chromeFor example, when converting the scls.info home page in Chrome, the extension only picked up the one visible slide at the time that I did the conversion.

Pdf-firefoxI then switched to Firefox, and found that in Firefox, the extension captured all of the slides in the slideshow in one PDF file. 

You can find these extensions in Chrome by going to the upper-right hand corner menu and going to More Tools>Extensions, and then searching the Chrome Web Store. In Firefox, go to the upper right-hand corner menu and choose Add-ons.

Given that the extension works differently in different browsers, I think it's a good rule of thumb to keep your options open when using browsers. If something doesn't look right or work well in one browser, try another browser.

Ergo kit available
SCLS is now offering an Ergonomic Kit. This kit contains several types of mice, keyboards, gel pads and other devices, like a back rest and a foot rest. The idea is that you can “try before you buy” a piece of ergonomic equipment. If you’ve been wanting to try a new mouse, but can’t decide if you want a vertical mouse or a joystick style mouse, you can try them out and see which one works best for you. If the vertical mouse is your preference, then is there an advantage to the $100.00 mouse over the $40.00 mouse? You will also be able to decide that with this kit because it has both of them!


All the electronics in the kit are plug and play, meaning you don’t have to install any drivers or software to make them work.

Library Podcasts

IMG_0772I've talked about my love of podcasts - especially book related ones - in TechBits in the past. In my post from 2015, the book related podcasts all come from the media - NPR and Book Riot - not from libraries. Since then, I've learned about some library podcasts and wanted to share them with you. I know there are more out there and if your library has a podcast, please add it in the comments.

SCLS Libraries:

Wisconsin Libraries:

Outside Wisconsin:

Interested in creating a podcast for your library? Richard Byrne from Free Technology for Teachers shared a tutorial on using Anchor.fm to create a podcast. An article in Library Journal called "The Chatty Librarians: Podcasting" shares two libraries and their experiences launching podcasts. Technology has come a long way in making podcasts easy to create. If you create one, be sure to let us know so we can highlight it.

Happy listening!

Digital Literacy Confidence

LogoDo you remember Project Play? It's still one of my favorite projects that I've worked on here at SCLS. While the Project Play website and information no longer exists, the concept of 23 Things is still very much alive. Let me explain.

I recently read an interview in Library Hotline called "Champion of Confidence" between Michael Stephens and Sally Pewhairangi, a librarian from New Zealand. In the interview, Sally talks about confidence being a big part of Digital Literacy. If you think about it, this makes sense. There's a great deal of self-doubt and fear about trying new things - especially for library staff or patrons who didn't grow up in the digital era.

This interview led me to Sally's website called The Library Boss*. I explored around, read some of the blog posts, and took the quiz to find out my Digital Super-Power. According to Sally, there are six Digital Super-Powers: adaptability, critical thinking, curiosity, empathy, patience, and problem solving. Guess which one I am?** Which one are you?

And, being the CE Consultant, I wondered if Sally would be a good speaker and if there were any archived webinars that she's presented. And, there is! I watched it and found the accompanying Padlet site which includes questions and answers by attendees of the webinar and others in the Australia and New Zealand library community. One of the comments referenced a project called 11 1/2 Things for Digital Literacy (a play on the 23 Things project). It turns out there have been a number of 23 Things projects focusing on Digital Literacy recently. Here are a few that I found:

In addition to topics like blogging, RSS feeds, and photos that were in the original 23 Things projects, the Digital Literacy 23 Things topics include digital security, accessibility, diversity, fake news and filter bubbles, gamification, augmented and virtual reality, digital curation, altmetrics, mindmapping, infographics, and more. All of these sites are open for anyone to participate. Check out some of the topics that interest you and play - it's the best way to learn!

*It also led me to figure out the time difference between Madison and New Zealand. Hmmm..what time to schedule a webinar...

**Not surprisingly, my Digital Super-Power is empathy!

People Counter Kits are available


I don't see anyone to count!
SCLS has two people counter kits available for any member library to use. These kits can be kept for 14 days are intended for in-library use only.

Kit 1 is a Bi-directional people counter kit – this is an easy to use basic people counter kit that will provide a count of how many people entered and exited your library. Two counters are included with this kit that also contains.

2 Transmitters
2 Receivers with displays
1 Magnet for resetting the counter
1 Instruction guide
Extra Command Strips

Kit 2 is a USB people counter kit – this is a more advanced people counter. Rather than a display to see how many people entered and exited the library it downloads data to a flash drive that connects to a laptop where you can see how many people passed by the counter every hour. This would be beneficial if you are interested in seeing trends as to what day of the week and during what time of the day the library gets the most traffic. This counter doesn’t indicate which direction people traveled so you will have to divide the total by two to get an accurate count. Two counters are included with this kit that also contains.


2 Transmitters
2 Receivers
1 laptop with people counter software and a power cable
1 Magnet for turning on the counter
1 USB cable
1 Instruction guide

 

General Data Protection Regulation law - what?

Europe's General Data Protection Regulation law goes into effect May 25, 2018.  The definition from Wikipedia is "The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (EU) 2016/679 is a regulation in EU law on data protection and privacy for all individuals within the European Union and the European Economic Area. It also addresses the export of personal data outside the EU and EEA.

This law has been seven years in the making and, in light of other recent news about data privacy infringement, seems to be very timely.  If companies and websites that you may use have a global presence (like Google), you are probably seeing an increase in "required" information bits about how that company or website is protecting your privacy and/or changes you should make to your account to increase the protection of your personal data.  

Here's a link to an article in The Guardian (UK) that I was reading in my last copy of American Libraries Direct.

And an article from The New York Times May 6, 2018 

Enjoy! Heidi O.

Marker.to

Marker.to is a Chrome extension for highlighting text on a webpage.

Why would you use it?
I used it because I ran across a blog post that I wanted to share with a friend. We had just been talking about his work environment, team dynamics, and the importance of trust (and an interesting book I just started reading), and I wanted to call my friend's attention to specific sections of the post. I used the extension to highlight those bits, and the extension provided me a URL to the highlighted page.

Here's the original page: https://www.blockshelf.com/leaders-eat-last-simon-sinek/

and here's the URL to the highlighted webpage: https://marker.to/sjtUeg

Highlightedpage

The link to the highlighted page includes a little toolbar at the top that includes a link to the original page, sans highlighting.

Now, of course, the kicker with this is that the URL is a shortened URL and it isn't apparent where it's sending the user, so I also included a very-clearly-from-me sentence in my email about the article I was sending so he knew it wasn't malicious.

Pretty nifty!