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.

Tb052617-1

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

Tb052617-2

  • 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.

Tb052617-3

  • 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.

Tb052617-4

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

Tb052617-5

  • 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.)

Tb052617-6

  • 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?

 

Phishing Quizzes

2017-01-25_phishing

Recently, I received an email telling me that my Office 365 account had been accessed from a foreign country. Being the skeptic that I am, I hovered over the links and saw they would have taken me to a questionable site. 

Can you tell the difference between a legitimate website or email and one that's a phishing attempt?

Take the 14-question OpenDNS Phishing Quiz or 10-question SonicWall Phishing IQ Test to test your skills! Each quiz will report your result and provide explanations for the answers.

Wisc-Online

Wisc-onlineAre your patrons looking for a free, self-guided, basic computer skills course?

Basic computer skills are just some of the offerings of Wisc-Online, a digital library of Web-based learning resources called "learning objects" developed primarily by faculty from the Wisconsin Technical College System.

The Basic Computer Skills course requires a sign-in (anyone may register for an account, or log in using their social media account), and covers these topics: 

  • using a mouse and keyboardWisc-online_word
  • navigating an operating system
  • creating documents using word processing software (Microsoft Word)
  • demonstrating basic email functions
  • performing basic file management techniques
  • using the internet
  • exploring social media
  • managing personal dataWisc-online_filebackup

Each learning activity ranges from about 10 to 30 minutes long and includes narrated video and interactive exercises.

Note to Self

A couple of weeks ago, I was able to listen to the final keynote session of The Digital Shift 2016 online conference* which featured Manoush Zomorodi. I hadn't heard of her or her podcast, Note to Self, and after her presentation, I immediately signed up and started listening.

What I found fascinating about her talk and her podcast is the focus on the human side of technology. A quote early in her talk captured my interest: "If we understand more about how we use our technology, we can understand ourselves better..." I like the focus on us as humans and how we can utilize technology to live better lives and not letting technology rule our lives.

BoredBrilliantAs part of her podcast, Manoush has done two projects - Bored & Brilliant and Infomagical - about the effect technology is having on our brains and our lives. For each project, she enlisted the help of her listeners and they really helped! 20,000 for Bored and Brilliant and 30,000 for Infomagical. Next fall, a book titled Bored and Brilliant: Rediscovering the Lost Art of Spacing Out will be released.

When I talk about building relationships as part of leadership or customer service, I often share an example of how we use our phone. Many of us use our phone as a watch and have it in our pocket or in our hands all the time. However, the perception of others when we get out our phone is that we're not engaged or present in the conversation. Listening to this keynote and reading about Manoush's book and projects reinforced this idea. It's a good reminder that our technology is a tool to help us and it's up to us to be purposeful in the use of it.

I love my phone and use it a lot and it's scary to think about changing how I use it on a daily basis. I'll be trying out the Infomagical challenges to see if I can get a handle on my information overload. Join me!

*If you missed the live broadcast of the 2016 Digital Shift conference, you can view the archives by selecting View Archive and registering. There's no cost to register and you can watch the archives at your convenience.

Gail's Toolkit for technology training

What do you get when very motivated librarians teaching lots of technology courses wants to standardize their course templates to make life easier for everyone (and have a grant to do it)?
Gail's Toolkit, built by staff at the Gail Borden Public Library.

From their website:  "Gail's Toolkit is a project funded by an American Library Association Publishing Carnegie-Whitney Grant that runs from 4/1/15 through 3/30/17. This free, online portal—sponsored by the Reaching Across Illinois Library System—offers lesson plans, presentations, handouts, and surveys that librarians can use to teach classes ranging from Microsoft Word to LinkedIn. The portal also offers an online bibliography of training resources for those who want to learn more about instruction."

I heard about Gail's Toolkit at WiLSWorld this year (presentation, handout), and I thought it had a lot of potential to help libraries everywhere with technology training. The Gail Borden Public Library staff have already developed a collection of courses that are free for anyone to use. For those interested in developing their own courses, the course templates are designed to make the courses so standardized that in the case of staff illness or other unexpected changes, any staff person could step in and cover the class.

GailsToolkit

Tracks & Classes: http://www.gailstoolkit.com/tracks-classes (templates to design your own classes are also included on this page)

As of September, there are already-developed classes for computer and internet basics, Microsoft programs, Google tools, resumes, and LinkedIn. Not a bad start!