Pinterest Place Pins

Pinterest has a new feature that I think has potential for libraries--- Pinterest Place Pins allow a map to to be added to a Pinterest board and pins to be added to that map using integration with Foursquare and other partner sites.

PinterestBoardHere's a link to one of my regular Pinterest boards, "Library and book stuff." It contains lots of pins I found interesting-- but no related map. (Tip: if you're prompted to join Pinterest when viewing the board, you can dismiss that window by pressing Esc)

Now here's a link to a board I created of some of my favorite places... Place Pins: SCLS LibrariesSouth Central Library System libraries! To clarify, ALL the South Central Library System libraries are my favorites, of course, but for this example I only added Place Pins for those libraries that already had pictures on FourSquare. (Tip: Older versions of IE may not display the map.)

Now... it seems like there are some possibilities here! Users might pin your library as a place they like to visit, a good place to go with kids, etc.  For example, New York City Public Library gets a listing on this "Free and almost free in NYC" Pinterest board. Libraries might create boards with links to resources in the community or even just other places of interest. Check out this Today post with step-by-step instructions for using Place Pins and an example of Place Pins using sunsets submitted by viewers.

From a social media and marketing standpoint, this might be one more reason to claim your library's location on FourSquare -- a click-through from Pinterest has the potential to bring new visitors to your website or to your building with correct URL, address, phone, and hours information from FourSquare! A lot of sites are already pointing out the potential for businesses, bed & breakfasts, restaurants, and more. I think libraries could be in the mix-- what do you think?

Side note: One of my favorite parts about writing this post was seeing the variety of pictures and tips that FourSquare users added for the libraries. Fun!

Can I get a piece of that Raspberry Pi?

I'm a big fan of Pi(e): I like making it, eating it and I think Pi(e) day (March 14) should be a National Holiday.  So I HAD to attend Joshua Cowles' WLA session "Have some Pi: why your library needs cheap, tiny computers."  The session blurb mentioned using the Raspberry Pi for an OPAC kiosk and I thought "Great, inexpensive OPACs that libraries can put all over the building. How cool is that?"

Well, I learned quite a bit during that session, including the fact that some testers were unable to optimize the Raspberry Pi for an OPAC kiosk and ended up having to power their prototype with a larger board that that would render web pages faster. 

I contacted Joshua to confirm my notes and he stated that "The Raspberry Pi does suffer from some slowness and the lack of a ready-made set of scripts or instructions to set up an OPAC kiosk like libraries would want to have.  However, after the session I learned that the tech folks at Winnefox are further along with their version of RPi kiosks than I thought, and they actually have them successfully deployed. I haven't been able to speak with them yet about the choices they made or how it's been working out."

But the Raspberry Pi project is more than just OPAC kiosks!  One major component of the project is to teach people, especially kids, about computers from the components up.  Kind of like making a (pastry) pie from scratch. 

From the Raspberry Pi website: "The Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized computer that plugs into your TV and a keyboard. It’s a capable little PC which can be used for many of the things that your desktop PC does, like spreadsheets, word-processing and games. It also plays high-definition video. We want to see it being used by kids all over the world to learn programming." 

Check out these links for more information and fun projects:

Raspberry Pi

10 coolest uses for the Raspberry Pi

Ten more awesome projects for your Raspberry Pi

25 fun things to do with a Raspberry Pi

 

--Heidi Oliversen

 

Smithsonian Institution Offering Virtual (and Printable) 3D Models of Artifacts

Starting Nov. 13, the Smithsonian Institution began scanning and modelling some of their vast collection of artifacts to make them more accessible to patrons.  They are offering them as both a virtual model, able to be viewed through a web browser, and also as a downloadble file that a 3D printer could print from.  The collection is still somewhat limited, but more will follow.

Check it out at 3d.si.edu

(Thank you Dennis, fixed the link!)

Recognition-based search

Identify song

These are just a few examples of times when recognition-based search might save the day!

As you may have gathered from past TechBits posts ("Using Google to find a book by its color", "Drag and drop for Google Image Search", and "Search tips for more successful Googling"), we're pretty big fans of Daniel M. Russell's SearchReSearch blog and all the helpful search tips it contains.

Daniel recently published a "What recognition-based search apps are there?" post which compiles a helpful list of various apps (or tools) that can be used to recognize objects or signals in the world. The list includes the more common services (Google Goggles, Google Search-By-Image, and Shazam) to some offerings for very specific types of identification (LeafSnap and WhatTheFont). 

It's a fascinating collection of resources --- I had no idea most of these existed! If you have a few minutes, give them a quick peek!

Prezi - Interactive Web-Based Presentations

Hi all! I'm Joanna, the Cataloging/Serials Technology Specialist at SCLS, a member of the group that supports LINKcat services. The ILS (Integrated Library System) Team will begin adding posts to TechBits on a rotating basis.

In an instructional literacy course I took as part of my MLIS program, I explored Web-based instructional literacy tools that could be applied to library services. My favorite is Prezi, an interactive software program that mimics PowerPoint, but with smooth animation between "slides". It inhibits the frequent wordiness you'll find in most PowerPoint presentations. (We just can't help ourselves.)

Building a Prezi is easy: you can choose from many different templates that are ready-made. They're also simple to customize, and adding your own images is a snap. While there is a bit of a learning curve in making your first Prezi, the program is forgiving. You can easily start over or scrap pieces that you don't like. It's also easy to import an existing PowerPoint into a Prezi template.

One advantage to Prezi over PowerPoint is the simplicity in displaying visual hierarchies. It's also highly collaborative. Users can share editing privileges with a small group of people or with all Prezi users if they choose. Prezi is mobile-enabled, with iPhone and iPad apps available.

While you can have a limited amount of free storage on an unpaid account, if you upgrade to a higher level of service, you can have Prezi Desktop to work offline on Prezi documents.

Some great library-related Prezis are linked here:

Technology in the Library

Library 101 by Chris Kerndt - an interesting way to do a public library orientation!

Glendale Library Arts & Culture by Suzanna Tadevossian - a colorful overview of library and community services

Guest Post: Awesome Box

Thanks to Ben Miller, director of the Sauk City Public Library, for this AWESOME guest post!
--------------------- 

The Awesome Box is a simple way to solicit and share patron recommendations.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Your patron reads a book, watches a movie, or listens to audio materials from your library. 
  2. They return the item and indicate that the item was, in fact, mind-blowing or awesome. 
  3. Your staff scans the item’s ISBN into the library’s Awesome Box site. 
  4. The item is then populated on your library’s Awesome Box page and links to the record in LINKcat where other interested patrons can place a hold on the item and have their mind blown as well. 

But don’t just take it from me. Here are the creators, Annie Cain and Matt Phillips, explaining the Awesome Box concept: http://youtu.be/WE6eSGUq3WU

Awesome BookmarksBecause we’re a small library, we’ve traded the concept of a physical box for returned Awesome items with a laminated bookmark. Patrons just slip the bookmark in a book they think is great and it alerts our staff that we need to mark it as “Awesome.”

We also share patron recommendations for Awesome stuff in three ways. Online we have a link to our Awesome Box site: http://saukcitylibrary.awesomebox.io/ (this link is now accessible on LINK catalog computers, so patrons can browse the Awesome Box and place a hold without logging onto an Internet station) and newly awesome items generate a tweet on our Twitter feed: https://twitter.com/SaukCityLib/status/364479556444770304 (they’re working on the wording to make it more indicative of being an Awesome Box book.) In the library, we have a physical display for books. We check out items to an Internal card for a week if it is simply returning to that library and not filling a patron hold.
AwesomeDisplay

The Awesome Box was developed by Harvard Library Innovation Lab and is completely free for libraries to sign up and use. To sign up, go to http://awesomebox.io/ and enter your email address and wait for a response from the folks at the Innovation Lab. While you wait, you’ll want to gather some information

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Username (used to log into the system) 
  • Email Name of your library 
  • Your library URL 
  • Requested Awesome URL (SOMETHING.awesomebox.io) 
  • Catalog ISBN lookup URL (yourcatalog.com?isbn=) 

For SCLS libraries you can use this URL for the last item on the list:
     http://launcher.linkcat.info/go.cgi?idx=nb&q=

Patrons seem to really like both the act of declaring a book Awesome and finding books that other patrons have deemed Awesome. As a selector, I feel like I have a much better feel for the kind of books my patrons like because we’re actively soliciting their opinions.

In the end the Awesome Box is just, well…awesome.

TED Talks

TED

In between audiobooks, I listen to a selection of podcasts. My newest favorite podcast is the TED Radio Hour produced by NPR. Let me tell you why...

I heard about TED Talks a few years ago and have watched a number of them since that time. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design and it started as a conference back in 1984 - almost 30 years ago. Who knew? I didn't and was surprised to learn that there are over 1500 talks that you can watch on the TED site - including the six talks from the first conference. From the TED site, "TED conferences bring together the world's most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes or less)."

The challenge, for me at least, is how to find the TED talks that are most interesting to me without watching an over 450 hours** of video. Mostly, I hear about them via Facebook friends, Twitter, or email. You can follow the TED Twitter feed (@TEDTalks or @TEDNews), like them on Facebook (they have over 3.3 MILLION likes!), follow via your RSS Reader, or do what I do - listen to the TED Radio Hour.

What I like about the TED Radio Hour is how they combine several different talks on a similar topic. In addition to clips from the original talk, the speakers are also interviewed. Recently, the show featured a talk from Nicholas Negroponte from 1984 where he made some technology predictions and looking back to see how many have come true (most have). He was talking about touch screens over 20 years before the first touch screen smart phone appeared on the market. You'll have to listen to the program to find out about the other predictions - Enjoy!

**452 hours is my estimate based on 1509 talks as of May 8, 2013 that average 18 minutes long which equals 26,162 minutes or 452.7 hours.

Fotor haiku

Essen haus - "Seatnig"?!?
only the neon is in color!

Fotor 

Online editing
choose some photos and upload
loads of cool effects

 

crop, rotate, adjust,
resize, straighten, enhance, tint
it's easy and FREE!

 

Flowers
simple collage

quickie collages
stitch together some photos
see my examples?  

 

 

(click on images to see them full size)

 

 

kitts
stitched together with rounded corners
 

 

 

Google Timelapse

Google_timelapse_01Google has expanded its mapping platform to include a project called Timelapse. It takes you back through time to see how our planet has changed over the last 25 to 30 years. Google worked with the US Geological Survey, NASA, and TIME to combine over 2 million images taken by Landsat satellites.

Google went through almost a petabyte of data to find the clearest images of Earth taken every year between 1984 and 2012. The project includes a number of pre-selected locations, like the creation of Dubai's artificial Palm Islands, the melting of Alaska's Columbia Glacier, and the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest, which is very dramatic. You always hear about how South America is losing so much of its rain forests every year, but now you can see how much.

Adjusting your desktop background image

You have a Windows 7 PC and a snazzy WIDESCREEN monitor. You set your desktop background to be a picture of your favorite pup, and... Whaaaaa??! Why's it all stretched out?I've been waiting to use this picture since I ran across it in MS Word's clip art

Luckily, Windows 7 has options to help you fit your favorite photo to your desktop. By default the option is to STRETCH the picture to fit the screen (hence the stretched out pup), but it's also possible to crop the picture to fill the screen, fit the picture to the screen, tile the picture, or center the picture on the screen.Ahhh... much better!
To change your desktop background settings in Windows 7:
1. Right-click a blank area of the desktop and choose Personalize
2. Select Desktop Background near the bottom
3. Choose a location from which to select a picture
4. Select your favorite picture
5. Under Picture Position (lower left), select to FillFit, Stretch, Tile or Center from the dropdown menu
6. Save Changes 

Thanks fo Sue A, whose very cute pups inspired this post!