Updated PC order form

The SCLS PC order form has been updated to include two current Dell PC models and two laptops models at a reduced price.

We are offering and recommending the Optiplex 7020 for staff PCs with a starting price of $633.00. This is about $85.00 less than the previous model. We are also offering and recommending the Optiplex 3020 for patron PCs with a starting price of $569.00. The biggest difference between the two models is that the Optiplex 7020 has 10 USB ports and the Optiplex 3020 has 8 USB ports. The Optiplex 7020 also has some legacy ports that the Optiplex 3020 doesn’t have.

We are also offering a 14 inch and 15 inch laptop. Both models cost $791.00. The 15 inch laptop offers the number pad on the keyboard whereas the 14 inch doesn’t.

If you are planning on ordering a laptop for staff use you may want to consider asking me about purchasing a wireless mouse, carrying case or a docking station if you want one. I intentionally left them off the order form because there are so many options available.

The end is near! (for @scls.lib.wi.us accounts)

The end is near!

@scls.lib.wi.us email will be retired at the end of January.  Make sure you're ready!

OverDrive by the Numbers

In preparation for the Annual Report, we've been gathering lots of numbers to pre-populate the report for you. I'm most interested in the Wisconsin's Digital Library (OverDrive) collection and circulation numbers and wanted to share them with you.

Collection Size - Statewide (excluding Advantage titles) 

  • 122,613 ebooks 
  • 28,375 digital audio books  
  • 1,403 videos PieChart

Circulation - SCLS (includes our Advantage Titles)               

  • Total = 591,575
  • Ebooks = 427,846
  • Audio = 161,484
  • Video = 2,245

Circulation - Statewide

  • 2,942,039

Wow - those are some big numbers! If I figured it out correctly, SCLS's circulation is 20% of the statewide total. Awesome - I love that our patrons are using Wisconsin's Digital Library! OverDrive even made mention of Wisconsin achieving the Million Checkout milestone in a recent blog post.

You can see your library's circulation in this spreadsheet updated January 8, 2015 (thanks, Kerri!) The pie chart above was created from that spreadsheet. Isn't it colorful?

All this use may mean that your library patrons are asking you lots of questions. Here's a link to "OverDrive's 10 Most Frequently Asked Questions." Want to know more? I'll be running a 5-week OverDrive Support Course starting on February 9 and you can register here.

Happy Reading, Listening, & Watching!

New gadgets & reading portable books: high tech to low tech

Do you have patrons coming into the library with their new devices wanting to download e-books? Well never fear--Santa decided to give SCLS new additions to our E-reader kits.  Santa's elves, Jean and Craig, purchased the following devices which will be available for loan soon: iPad Mini, Dell Venue 8" display, Samsung Galaxy 7" display, Kindle Fire HD 7" display, and Kindle PaperWhite. Thank you, Santa.

We are now used to having a portable way to read books. But this is not a new need. Recently I heard a story on NPR about pocket-sized editions of books for soldiers overseas during World War II.  Initially, librarians encouraged people to donate used books for soldiers, but the donated materials weren’t quite right. The focus then turned to publishers making books that were “…about the size of a smartphone, and they were tucked into the pockets of uniforms."  These books were very popular—you can read about it here.  Hmmm. Were these the precursors to e-books on smartphones?

Embed those images!

I confess. I don't like to think sometimes. And one of the things I loved about Microsoft's clip art was that I didn't have to think about whether I could use it in my TechBits posts (I could!).

Now that MS clip art is gone (gasp!), I'm a little panicked. What fantastic picture can I find to go with this post? How many times will you tolerate pictures of my cats? After hunting around a little, I think I've got 3 good possibilities for worry-free blog pictures.

Embed a Getty image
Jean wrote about embedding Getty images back in May, but it's so simple to do that I think it's worth another shout-out.

Publish to a blog or website

    1. Start at http://www.gettyimages.com/embed
    2. Enter a search term in the search box above.
    3. Place pointer over an image and click the </> icon.
    4. Copy and paste the code into your website or blog.

It's free to embed, as long as it's for non-commercial purposes! See the FAQ for more details. The limitations are that you are only allowed to use the image with the code that Getty provides (that's part of the FAQ!), so there's no resizing to custom sizes or wrapping text around the image.

Flickr attributions
In addition to not liking to think, I'm also terrible with HTML. I love the idea of using Flickr photos with Creative Commons licenses, but I haven't the foggiest idea how to easily, quickly, and appropriately attribute them to their creators.

Enter Flickr cc attribution helper, a handy little bookmarklet that helps properly attribute Flickr photos. Just do a Flickr advanced search for images with a Creative Commons license, pick an image, and click on the bookmarklet. It generates the code and helps navigate the Creative Commons seas! (see how I worked in the picture I found?) The downside? The only option for sizing happens when the bookmarklet is first created, and it doesn't help with alignment or making the text flow around the image. 

creative commons licensed ( BY-SA ) flickr photo shared by opensourceway

Imagecodr can also be used to properly attribute Flickr images. Use the Imagecodr search page to easily search Flickr for appropriate images. Then paste the URL for the image you select into their "Get Code" page to generate the appropriate HTML. Select your size, and copy the code. In addition to generating the code, it also checks the Flickr license to make sure it's okay to use the picture.

The result? Something very similar to the Flickr cc attribution bookmarklet. Again, no help with alignment or text wrap.

On the road again....... by cvanstane, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License   by  cvanstane 
What are your favorite sources for images now that MS clip art is gone?

Bye-bye Office clip art — hello fine print

Have you heard? Office.com Clip Art and image library is gone. You may still find clip art on your computer bundled with a legacy version of Microsoft Office, but photos now appear courtesy of Bing Image Search. Great? Hmmm...

Ho, ho, hold on. Let's read the fine print.

The truth is, when you select Insert > Clip Art in Word or Power Point and search including Office.com content, the results match a Bing.com search for images that are "Free to share and use commercially." Many are from websites with blanket Creative Commons (CC) licenses, which (in practice) may include copyrighted images that are not covered by the CC license at all. Bing supplies the images based on the assumption that everyone on the Internet understands and complies with copyright law. (Ho, ho, ho! Let's all have a hearty laugh about that.)

Now, wipe away those tears. There are still plenty of ways to find clip art and photos (including Bing, if you like) if you do your due diligence. Look for a license and follow what it says (including attribution if required). When in doubt, make an educated judgment, request permission, or simply find a different image. Merry image searching to all, and to all a good night!

Browser-Based Audiobooks - Coming Soon!

First there was OverDrive READ - browser-based books and then streaming video in Wisconsin's Digital Library. Now, there's browser-based audiobooks!

What does that mean for you or your patrons? They no longer have to download the OverDrive app for audiobooks, they can listen instantly in their browser. Check out their blog post for a movie-like trailer about this coming feature. This is the first I've heard of this new feature so after I try it out, I'll let you know more.

And, here's a special treat for you. Jane Henze from DeForest Area Public Library sent me this fun, slightly dizzying, video of the New York Public Library sorting center as filmed by Nate Bolt with a Drone. Thanks Jane!


Enjoy and have a great holiday season!


My cat knows the shortcut

Smart kitty!

My cat sat on my keyboard the other day. That's not unusual. What was unusual was that she did it in such a way that she brought up all the Gmail shortcuts on-screen. Smart kitty!

Here's her secret (I had to look it up on Google in order to figure it out!):

Pressing ?  (shift + the key with the question mark) in the Google programs like Gmail, Calendar, and Drive will bring up all the keyboard shortcuts.

Chrome Doesn't Trust Your Website Anymore, How to Still Get to It

Recently, Google has released a new version of Chrome that no longer trusts certain secure websites in a move to encourage those sites to switch to a different, more secure, security system.  That's all well and good, except that about 80-85% of the World Wide Web still uses the old, but still good, system to secure people's connections to their websites.

When encountering these sites, you may now be presented with screens that look something like this:

Insecure site

Looks scary, right? However, receiving this message doesn't necessarily mean that you shouldn't trust the site. Also, it may not look obvious, but you can still reach the site you're trying to get to by clicking the "Advanced" link in the bottom-left, then clicking "Proceed to <website name>..."

I can't tell you which websites you can and can't trust. Every time you browse the internet there's a little bit of risk involved. Simply use your best judgement.

Remove Addresses from Office 365 Autocomplete

The purpose of this TechBit is to show how to remove a single contact from the Office 365 Autocomplete feature.  This procedure will become very useful when the SCLS-hosted Email Lists are retired and we switch over to a similar service provided by WiscNet. MH900229717

  1. Click New Mail.
  2. Click in the To: field.
  3. Begin typing the first few characters of the contact.  (This could be a person's email address, a person's name or a list email address.)
  4. In the resulting list, use the Up and Down arrow keys to highlight the entry you'd like to remove.
  5. Press the Delete key to remove the highlighted contact.

These instructions also appear on the Office 365 FAQ page.  The HWDSB (Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board) has a decent video that may help as well. Thanks to Kerri of SCLS for the TechBit topic idea.