Mapping your data - the U.S. Census Bureau

If you work in a  LINKcat library you are probably very familiar with the U.S. Census Bureau American FactFinder tool. We use the Geographies/Address option to identify the "legal place of residence" for our patron records; from city, town, village, census tract and municipal wards.  This information is critical for the annual reports we provide the State of Wisconsin and also helps our communities provide accurate information about the density of their patron population and geographic use locations for their community reports.

But the U.S. Census Bureau has so much more.  One of my sidetracks is also located in the Geography area - Maps & Data.   You can map all kinds of data from this point using a variety of data points to produce a multiplicity of results.  Learning how to use this will take some time but if you are a map nerd like me you can get very very lost.  But there are maps!

Using the Places Tab Search in Instagram

Places_tab

The Places tab is an often underutilized part of Instagram’s Search and Explore page. When you search for places, Instagram will feature the nine highest ranking posts in that location, followed by the most recent posts in chronological order.  This is a great way to engage with what’s happening in your local area. I found this very useful when we had local flooding recently.  It helped us find out what resources were available in our community to help with cleanup and local volunteer opportunities.

How to search Places:

  • Go to the magnifying glass icon at the bottom of your profile.
  • Search for the Places Tab (to the right).
  • Select your desired location from the list.

From a posting perspective, remember to use the Places tag feature on your posts.  You may find you engage your local audience more and potentially gain new followers.

 

OverDrive's new status page

Did you see the news? As of September 4th, OverDrive has a new status page to communicate service issues at https://status.overdrive.com/.

OverDrive’s new status page is available to all staff and end users. You can visit the page at any time to view the status of browsing and searching, signing in, downloading, and reading and/or listening to a book. If services on the OverDrive side are running smoothly, their status will be listed as Operational. If a service is degraded or experiencing an outage, the status will be updated accordingly.

To be notified when issues are posted, you can follow the @OverDriveStatus Twitter account which will be automatically updated, or sign up for alerts via subscription options in the lower right corner of the page.

Please take a few minutes to visit the status page and feel free to share this with your staff. WPLC project managers will continue to send service alerts to the WPLC Announcements list and to the Google WPLC Support Community.

Brief guide to buttons that clear formatting

Noticing unwanted formatting differences in the text on your website, email, Excel, or Word document (where one line looks good, but another is a hair bigger or smaller)? Many times there is a little button intended to fix it! Just highlight/select the text in edit mode, click the button—voila, wonky formatting gone. Here's a guide to what to look for in some common tools:

Microsoft Word & Office 365 (same icon!)

Microsoft Word & Office 365 use an icon with a pink eraser scrubbing out an uppercase A

Excel (specialized format clearing options in a drop-down)

Excel's icon shows a pink eraser next to the word Clear, with a drop down menu

Gmail

Gmail's button looks like an italicized uppercase T with a small subscript x

Drupal websites - CKEditor toolbar

The CKEditor toolbar button used on many Drupal websites has a button with an italicized uppercase T with a small subscript x

 

Convert web pages to PDF for printing/saving in Chrome and Firefox

Some time ago I came across a handy extension available for Chrome and Firefox called Print Friendly & PDF. You can use this extension to generate PDF files from web pages that can be used to either print or save the web page as a PDF file. However, I have noticed that the extension doesn't work exactly the same in both browsers. 

Pdf-chromeFor example, when converting the scls.info home page in Chrome, the extension only picked up the one visible slide at the time that I did the conversion.

Pdf-firefoxI then switched to Firefox, and found that in Firefox, the extension captured all of the slides in the slideshow in one PDF file. 

You can find these extensions in Chrome by going to the upper-right hand corner menu and going to More Tools>Extensions, and then searching the Chrome Web Store. In Firefox, go to the upper right-hand corner menu and choose Add-ons.

Given that the extension works differently in different browsers, I think it's a good rule of thumb to keep your options open when using browsers. If something doesn't look right or work well in one browser, try another browser.

Get more out of your searching - by getting less results (but more relevant ones)

I search for some really weird, hard to find stuff. Part of my job is doing authority control, which basically means I have to look up really obscure items (mostly foreign movies and anime) and make sure everyone in our catalog record is actually associated with that item and their name is spelled correctly. My searches have to be very narrow so I can find what I am actually looking for.

Here are a couple of the tricks I’ve picked up to get better results.

  • Use quotes around your keyword to search for that exactly
    • If you use this around more than one word, it will look for results that have that phrase in that order.
    • This also can be used if you want your results to REQUIRE a certain word if you put around just one word. If I don’t do this, sometimes I get a lot of results that just have part of my search query in it.
  • Use the minus sign (-) to remove results with the words after it
    • This is helpful in narrowing down results if you are not interested in certain results.
    • It can be used to specify what you are looking for when a search query could have more than one kind of result
      • A good example of this is the image search results for “seals” versus “seals -animal*"
        • The * is a wildcard symbol that broadens a search.
        • Animal* searches for animal, animals, etc.
    • I use the minus sign to get rid of results from other libraries. I’m not interested in looking at other library catalogs when I’m trying to figure out if a name is wrong or not, since it’s likely that library is using the same record we are so they are not helpful.

These two tricks work on Google, Yahoo, Bing, and DuckDuckGo.

There are many more tips, but these are the two I use the most. Here are a couple of my searches I’ve done in the past for authority control work:

Searches

 

Library Podcasts

IMG_0772I've talked about my love of podcasts - especially book related ones - in TechBits in the past. In my post from 2015, the book related podcasts all come from the media - NPR and Book Riot - not from libraries. Since then, I've learned about some library podcasts and wanted to share them with you. I know there are more out there and if your library has a podcast, please add it in the comments.

SCLS Libraries:

Wisconsin Libraries:

Outside Wisconsin:

Interested in creating a podcast for your library? Richard Byrne from Free Technology for Teachers shared a tutorial on using Anchor.fm to create a podcast. An article in Library Journal called "The Chatty Librarians: Podcasting" shares two libraries and their experiences launching podcasts. Technology has come a long way in making podcasts easy to create. If you create one, be sure to let us know so we can highlight it.

Happy listening!

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.

 


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?

 

How_to_Spot_Fake_News

 

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!