Time Flies

I'm guessing that, like me, you never have enough time to accomplish everything you would like to do in a day. Periodically, I take a "time management" workshop. The most recent one that I attended suggested using Technology to gain back some time. The trainer proposed the following:

Time flies
Time Flies
  • Learn one new time-saving technology short cut or function each week
  • Read a book or attend a webinar each month on a time-saving topic
  • Attend an in-person conference or workshop annually

But, how does one get started? The trainer recommended finding a free web-site with tips and tricks. He suggested timemanagement.com. I took a look and there are enough short articles on it that you could probably do one a week for a year. Here is your first one: Keyboard Shortcuts. Are you already using these? If not, this is a good place to start saving time.


COUNTER-compliant stats for electronic resources

How many windows do you count?

How do you count things?

If I asked how many windows your residence has, how would you answer? Would you count the little windows to the basement? Windows in the garage? Separate panels within a multi-part window? What about a window within a door?

If we compared the window counts of our residences, we would probably want to be sure we were counting the same thing. Otherwise, we'd be comparing apples to oranges. The same is true for online resources (electronic databases and the like). If we're counting, we want to use established standards. COUNTER helps us do just that.

From the COUNTER website...

What is COUNTER?

COUNTER is a non-profit organization supported by a global community of library, publisher and vendor members which provides the Code of Practice that enables publishers and vendors to report usage of their electronic resources in a consistent way. This enables libraries to compare data received from different publishers and vendors.

Why use COUNTER?

Libraries spend considerable amounts of money licensing different types of online content to support their users' needs. Libraries need to assess user activity, in relation to this content, to ensure that this money is spent as productively as possible.

The COUNTER Code of Practice helps librarians demonstrate the value of electronic resources by facilitating the recording and reporting of online resource usage stats in a consistent and credible way.

The implementation of the Code of Practice helps publishers and vendors support their library customers and provide statistics comparable with those of their competitors.

The takeaway

  1. Standards help ensure accountability
  2. COUNTER's Code of Practice is a standard used to measure the usage of electronic resources
  3. Measuring usage in a consistent way allows for comparisons across libraries and vendors


Historically, SCLS has provided usage statistics pulled from our authentication scripts. These stats are not COUNTER-compliant and are really only a rough estimate of how many users requested a resource, not if/how they used the resource once they arrived there (think "gate count" as opposed to "checkouts"). In upcoming months, we will be modifying our authentication system to try to get better, COUNTER-compliant statistics for member libraries and for the DPI annual reports. Watch for more information about this on the SCLS Technology News blog.

Photo by Travel-Cents on Unsplash

It's a bird, it's a plane...

When you hear comments about robots taking someone’s job, most people think about a robot that sits on one place doing boring, repetitive tasks. Sure, there are some places that are working on more mobile robots, but they still tend to evoke images of something hauling a load of equipment or being a mobile camera. Enter the robotic stunt person.

No, it’s not a movie or book. Disney Imagineering is working on a robot stunt double, Stuntronics, that can be flung into the air, flip, pose, correct its rotation and center mass as needed and then nail the landing. Only these robots are going to be stunt doubles for other robots. The current idea is to use them to provide a stunt double for other animatronic figures, probably during one of the animatronic shows at the theme parks, to bring a sense of action to what is normally a figure that cannot move from where they sit or stand.


Looking at that last shot, I can't decide if it needs a cape or some hot rod red.

Fake News?

You're scrolling through your Facebook or Twitter feed and you see a link to a news story that sounds far-fetched and is getting everyone riled up. Is it true? How can you tell?

The International Federation of Library Associatiations and Institutions (IFLA) made an infographic with eight simple steps (based on FactCheck.org's 2016 article, How to Spot Fake News) to help determine the verifiability of a given news article. This infographic is free for everyone to download, print, translate, and share. You can find links to the infographic in English and many other languages here: https://www.ifla.org/publications/node/11174

(Did you notice that librarians get a shout-out under the "Ask the Experts" section?  Woohoo!)

Some of the fact-checking websites that I use regularly include Snopes.com and Politifact.com

Do you get questions from patrons about evaluating the accuracy and truthfulness of news and other articles? What fact-checking sites do you recommend? What resources do you share in library training classes?




Fun Friday Quiz: Fact or Opinion?


In preparation for my post next week on fake news, here's a fun little 10-question quiz from the Pew Research Center - how well can you tell factual from opinion news statements?

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!

Instagram Stories are now being archived

Instagram-iconI am fairly new to Instagram and have just started playing around with the Story feature.  This feature seems to be very popular with my teenage daughter and her friends.  Stories are a way to share things with your followers on a temporary basis (the story will disappear after 24 hours). I can see the appeal, but being in the library world, I tend to want to save any and all information.

Thankfully, Instagram now automatically saves all your stories for you in Archive. It also added a place to show them off in your profile called Highlight.  Go to your profile and click on Edit Profile.  Then select the Archive tab. You can then select a Story to view it or share it again. You'll also see an option that says Highlight; select it to have that Story appear in an area just under your profile.

Exploring Chrome Extensions Volume 6: Wikiwand

    Are you someone that enjoys reading Wikipedia articles but are put off by the lackluster, sterile presentation? I just found this Chrome extension that adds a bit more flair to Wikipedia. It’s called Wikiwand.

Wikiwand changes the formatting for Wiki pages for enhanced readability and function. The part that I like most about this extension is that it makes the article’s table of contents fixed to the left side of the browser window. This way you can easily access contents no matter where you are in the article. I also enjoy the color scheme and enriched display of the article's pictures.

Check out Wikiwand here

Smartphone Firsts: including a holographic display

Move over Star Trek! Who knew that a smartphone with a glasses-free holographic display is slated to be released this fall?  The Red Hydrogen One is one such a phone: it will offer modular attachments for shooting videos, stills and holographic content. 


Each new trailblazing technology can make what we already have seem so mundane. In that vein, here’s a little smartphone history quiz.

Smartphone firsts:
a. What year was the 1st smartphone released? (Clue: It was called the IBM Simon Personal Communicator.)
b. What year was the 1st smartphone released that had a camera? (Clue: Both Nokia and Sanyo released them in the same year.)
c. What year was the 1st Apple iPhone released?
d. What year was the 1st 4V holographic phone released? (Clue: The Red Hydrogen One.)



Answers: a. 1994, b. 2002, c. 2007 and d. 2018

WORK DESTINATION - Where do your residents commute for work?

For grant applications, I was looking for data that showed where residents in our community commute for work. I live in Green County, but there are a lot more grant opportunities in Dane County so I set off to find data to answer this question:

How many New Glarus (Green County) residents work in Dane County?

It turns out that the Census Bureau provides this information via their OnTheMap tool: https://onthemap.ces.census.gov/. Here are 10 steps I used to find the answer:




  1. Enter Geographic Area (e.g. New Glarus).
  2. Select Type of Area (e.g. County Subdivision = New Glarus village (Green, WI)). For definitions of geographic areas, see the United States Census Bureau Geographic Areas Reference Manual: https://www.census.gov/geo/reference/garm.html
  3. Select Perform Analysis on Selection Area.
  4. Select Home/Work Area = “Home”.
  5. Select Analysis Type = “Destination” and select Destination Type = “County Subdivision". Be sure to check out the “Inflow/Outflow” analysis type too!
  6. Select Year (e.g. 2015).
  7. Select Job Type (e.g. Primary Jobs).
  8. Select GO!
  9. Select Number of Results = “All”.
  10. Select Detailed Report and export to your desired format.

I then repeated this search for the Town of New Glarus. Give it a try, and then check out some of the other Data Tools and Apps provided by the US Census Bureau: https://www.census.gov/data/data-tools.html.