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.

Using DuckDuckGo for Internet searching

Over the years, Google has become synonymous with Internet searching for many people, including myself. While Google is certainly convenient, I think it's a good idea to use alternative search engines as well. 

Years ago, I used DuckDuckGo and recently I was surprised to learn that it's still around. In addition to navigating directly to https://duckduckgo.com/ to execute your search, you can set it as a default search engine in your browser settings, or install the DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials browser extension. You can also download the DuckDuckGo Privacy Browser as an app on your phone or tablet.

Duckduckgo-privacyOne feature on the app that I like is the "privacy grade" that assigns a letter grade to each web site that you visit. You can click on the grade and get information about how well the web site protects your privacy.

Next time you have to do some Internet searching, try out DuckDuckGo as an alternative to Google and see if it works for you!

 

Display formulas in Excel

Ever need to look through the formulas on a spreadsheet?  Maybe you need to update them, maybe you're trying to fix a problem or maybe you just want to know what's going on.  Sure you can go through and click on each cell to show the formula but did you know you can set Excel to show the formulas instead of the values in the regular display?

Select the Formulas tab and click on the Show Formulas option.  Now, instead of showing the results, Excel will display the formulas themselves for the entire spreadsheet.  Since the formulas are often longer than the results, the columns may also automatically resize to be able to display the formulas. 

Showformula

When you're done, just click on Show Formulas again and the spreadsheet will go back to showing the results.  It will also automatically resize the columns back to their original settings. 

Using Google Calendar for Task Reminders

I have been using Google Calendar as an online calendar for years, but more recently I have utilized the "Reminder" feature to keep track of daily tasks, especially repeating tasks.

To create a Reminder, click on the appropriate day, enter the information, and select the Reminder button (instead of the Event button).  Googlecalendarreminder-create

You can set up the Reminder for a certain time, or leave it as "all day." You can make it a one-time task, or set up a schedule for the task.

The many options for Repeating the task are highly useful. There are multiple tasks that I do on a regular schedule, such as monthly, every other month, etc. I even have Reminders set for tasks that are only done once a year. 

Googlecalendarreminder-markasdoneWhen you have completed the task for the day, you can mark the task as done to cross it off of your list (hover your mouse over the task to get the Mark as done option). If you don't mark the task done, it will appear on the next day. The tasks keep appearing until you mark them done or delete them. 

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)

 

Removing duplicates in Excel, again

We've covered a couple of ways to remove duplicates from Excel before, but those methods destroyed the original data.  If you wanted to keep the original data, you needed to save a copy of it somewhere first.  There's a way to filter out the duplicates which leaves the original data in place and has you save the de-duplicated information in another location instead. 

  1. Open the file in Excel and elect the information you'd like de-duplicated.  Note: If you don't have a header on your column, Excel will complain about the missing column header.
    Selectaddresses

  2. Click on the Data tab (1) at the top of page and, in the Sort and Filter section, click on Advanced (2).
    Datafilter

  3. An Advanced Filter window will appear.  Since we're wanting to keep the original list, click on "Copy to another location" and click on the button at the right hand side of the "Copy to:" field.
    Filterwithcopy

  4. This brings up a small "Advanced Filter - Copy..." window.  Chose the column you wish to have the new list copied to and then click on the icon at the end of the field. 
    Filterlocation

  5. You'll be back at the "Advanced Filter" window.  Check the "Unique records only" box and click on OK.
    Filterwithcopy2
  6. You now have a new list with the duplicates removed but your original list is still intact.    
    Nodups

Sorting lists randomly in Excel

Recently, I needed to sort a list of names in random order. Rather than manually figure out a random sort, I decided to see if Excel could do the sort for me. Guess what - it can! It's a little clunky, but it works.

  • Enter the list of names in an Excel column.
  • Select the column, right-click and choose Insert to insert a new column next to the list of names.

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  • Enter the formula =RAND() into the first cell of the new column.
    • (The RAND function will generate a random number in the cell.)

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  • Copy the =RAND() formula from the first cell to the rest of the cells, until you get to the end of the list of names.
    • (Click on the lower right-hand corner of the cell, and then drag the mouse down to the end of the list.)
  • You will now have a column with random numbers.

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  • Select the column of random numbers.
    • (Go back to the top of the column and click on the column's letter to select the column.)
  • Go to Sort & Filter and choose Sort Smallest to Largest.

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  • You will get a pop-up. Choose Expand the Selection, and click the Sort button.

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  • The list of names will sort in a random order, based on the numbers that were generated by the RAND function.
    • (Note that you can repeat the Sort & Filter process to generate a new random sort.)

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  • You can delete the column of numbers after you are satisfied with the name sorting. 

Test your cybersecurity knowledge

CybersecurityLast summer, the folks at the Pew Research Center surveyed adult internet users living in the US about cybersecurity.

The results? "A majority of internet users can answer fewer than half the questions correctly on a difficult knowledge quiz about cybersecurity issues and concepts."

Want to see how you fare? Take the short 13-question quiz. When you finish, you'll be able to compare your scores with the average American and see explanations for the terms and topics in each question. The analysis of the findings from the poll can be found in the full report, "What the Public Knows About Cybersecurity."

How did you do?

Which cybersecurity topics would you like us to cover on the TechBits blog? (Please let us know in the comments!)

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)

 

Emoji blitz

Emojis4 (2)While I was traveling to ALA Midwinter, I was browsing through the Delta Sky Magazine and came across an article on how emojis are born. Being the standards-loving librarian that I am, I was fascinated to learn that emojis are approved by the Unicode Consortium and each one is assigned a unique code. This is what makes all emojis appear the same on all the different devices. Fascinating! Now I know why I am able to send my friends the emojis I win in the Disney Emoji Blitz game that I play. 

Since emojis are so ubiquitous, the article got me thinking about emojis and libraries. There is not a lot out there, but I did find this article in Library Journal that talks about library emoji (or the lack thereof). What would your library look like as an emoj?