2016 Technology Day

Tech Day 2016 - Digitization ProjectsThis year's focus for Tech Day is digitization projects!

At Tech Day on May 20th, we'll hear from Emily Pfotenhauer from WiLS about digitization, Recollection Wisconsin, and DPLA. The afternoon will feature a panel of your colleagues sharing their experiences of going through a digitization project. We'll finish up the day with an update from the SCLS Tech Team.

Full agenda and event registration can be found here.

Is this website safe?

File56ec29640e9f7Photo credit: CrimsonSoul

With all the nasty things floating around the Internet these days, this is a question that we should ask ourselves whenever we're on the Internet.  This is even more important if we are going to a website and downloading something.  Nowadays nasty stuff can hide in the ads on websites, Word documents (like "Locky" ransomware), and PDF files.

So you need to be very careful about the websites you visit, but how can you know if a website is safe or not?  I had this question asked of me recently and I did some research to answer this question.  I found a web page entitled "How to Tell If A Website Is Dangerous" that goes over this topic very well.  It gives you numerous links to some good sites that can check a site to see if it has been blacklisted, if it has malicious content and what the reputation of the site is (for more about this see Greg's TechBits article).  I also found that Google has a site for this as well and it is called Google Transparency Report.  So with this information you can now make good choices as to the websites that you visit.

Mobile Computer Labs are getting a face lift

Pelican 1640 case with laptop insertRecently SCLS implemented a new case for Mobile Computer Lab #1. We went from 5 bins down to 1 case.  The new case has a hard shell; it moves around on wheels and has an extendable handle, much like modern day luggage. The nice thing about this case is everything fits in one case, so packing and unpacking will go much faster.


Mobile computer labs 2 and 3 have been rearranged so instead of 4 bins each they are now in 3. This won’t change set-up and tear down time, but they are a lot easier to move around.

Learn together

At Tech Day in April, our presenter talked about helping patrons with technology. She brought up the idea that you don't need to know the answer to every technology question a patron might have--- you just need to treat the technology question like any other reference question, help the patron find the answer, and learn together. What an awesome way to approach technology questions!

Technology Reference Interview

Just recently, I saw this article about Colorado State Library's expanded Library Creation & Learning Centers website, a free online resource where libraries can access interactive technology and customer service training modules for staff, makerspace programming ideas, curated links to digital creation software, and more.

One of the things I ran across while browsing the site is this helpful (and super-cute) slideshow on using a Technology Reference Interview (~3-5 min). If you have a few minutes, give it a look!

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I want to let you in on a secret. Tech people don't know everything about computers either. We know lots of stuff, of course, but not EVERYTHING -- and we look stuff up all the time!

Confession: I had to look up how to close apps on a Windows 8 tablet---couldn't figure it out for the life of me! After a quick internet search and 15 seconds of reading, I am now an expert at the old swipe-down-to-close move.

"Modules Unraveled" Drupal training videos now free


flickr photo shared by cogdogblog under a Creative Commons ( BY ) license

When librarians ask about advanced Drupal training resources, from now on I'll mention the training videos from Modules Unraveled. Modules Unraveled recently changed to an ad-sponsored model, making its high-quality tutorial videos on Drupal modules free. (In the past the site was subscription-based, and that's a big barrier for many. Not anymore!)

Modules Unraveled provides intermediate to advanced coverage of select Drupal modules. You may already be using some of these modules on your library's website. For example:

  • "Calendar" powers many sites' calendars.
  • "Views" powers Calendar and almost any display that combines text and images from multiple nodes (Articles, Basic Pages, Events, etc.) into one page or block.
  • "Views Slideshow" powers image slideshows (aka carousels).
  • "Quicktabs" produces tabbed blocks for combined Search LINKcat/Search this website.

Beginner documentation for SCLS's version of these features shows how to use some of them, but falls far short of explaining how to tweak or significantly alter how they work. For the site maintainer who wants to do just that*, Modules Unraveled explains settings and configuration options for Calendar, Views, Views Slideshow, Quicktabs, and more—premium videos that are now available for free (in exchange for watching a 15-second ad).

* Contact me if you need extra permission to tinker with your SCLS-hosted Drupal site.

Library Freedom Project Holding Privacy Workshop after ALA

Library-freedom-project11

If you're attending ALA and are still in town the following Monday and Tuesday you may consider attending Library Freedom Project's Digital Rights in Libraries workshop being held at Noisebridge. The workshop will provide tools and training to assist privacy-minded individuals (staff and patrons) with their digital presence.

more SLP

The first 2 of Jean's posts to help you develop your SLP (Super Librarian Powers) are available:

  • Ancestry Library - Get the low-down on this fantastic genealogy resource!
  • NoveList - Learn more about the ultimate Readers Advisory tool for all ages and genres!

Each post includes an overview of the online resource, a short exercise to become more familiar with it, and a 3-4 question quiz (optional) to check your work. There are also links to additional training materials should you want to explore the resource even more -- for example, the Ancestry Library resources mentioned in the post included everything from their online Learning Center to "5 Minute Finds" YouTube tutorials to hour-long SCLS training webinars.

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Ancestry Library is one of my favorites. I love to pull up the original census records and see who was living in the household, how old they were, where they were born, their occupations and more. Later in the summer, Jean will also cover another of my favorites, NewspaperARCHIVE, which is a another great genealogy resource. Combine these with the new SCLS slide and photo scanning kit and think of what genealogy fun you could have!

Develop your SLP (Super Librarian Powers)

We've heard lots about the "Summer Slide" and how the Summer Library Program helps to prevent this.  

This summer, Jean will be introducing a 12 week program for librarians on the Know More blog to enhance and improve their SLP (Super Librarian Powers). Starting June 1, she'll highlight a variety of online resources (aka databases), searching tips & tricks, and more. Each week's post will also include a short activity to help you to become more familiar with the resource, and links to additional training and help.

Sounds like fun, right? You can follow the Know More blog via RSS or email (sign up is on the right side of the blog under "Subscribe"). If you're not already familiar with all the great online resources or you just want to brush up on them, here's an easy way to do it!

Wild Wisconsin Winter Web Conference 2015

The third annual WWWWC was held last Wednesday and Thursday, January 21 and 22. I hope you had a chance to attend one or more of the excellent sessions that were offered. If you missed a session or want to revisit the content, you're in luck. All the recordings, slides, and handouts are available here. To get the full experience, check out the Twitter feeds for #wwwc15. Several librarians (including me, @pandalibrarian) from around the state live-tweeted each session.  WWWC15

While I attended all of the sessions and learned something from each one, I want to draw your attention to the tech related ones (this is Tech Bits after all!) First up was Tablet Slinging Librarians: Using Tablets to Improve Customer Service with Leah Kulikowski. My favorite idea was using the tablet along with Google forms to take program registration on the road.

Next up was Roy Tennant talking about What You Need to Know About Library Technology. This was an enlightening talk about possibilities of future technologies - and what we need to do keep up. I especially liked the photos of "old" technology. (I put old in quotations because I remember most of them and I don't feel old!)

Last, but not least, was Crystal Schimpf teaching us Six Essential Skills for One-on-One Tech Instruction. Crystal offered great reminders and encouragement for those of us who teach patrons (or library staff) technology. My biggest take-away from this session was the reminder to give up control and let the learner "drive" the session.

Bonus - I highly recommend watching the Trigger Talks. Our very own Ben Miller was crowned the Trigger Talk Champion. It was so much fun being a part of this awesome program. Enjoy!

RFID or not to RFID? - that is the question.

I don't think I've ever blogged (bragged) about the SCLS mobile RFID tagging kits.  Years ago (!) SCLS used grant monies to purchase equipment, carts and bins in order to provide a shared resource that libraries could "check-out" when they decided to implement RFID.  Providing these kits has meant that libraries using Bibliotheca software were not required to a) purchase their own mobile tagging kits or b) rent taggging stations. 

We have 4 mobile tagging kits; each kit contains an antenna (aka pad), FEIG reader with power cord, a laptop with both flavors of Bibliotheca tagging software, power cord, mouse, barcode scanner and a surge protector delivered to your library in a stylish grey delivery bin. We also have 3 carts that you can also borrow, if you do not have a cart in-library that you can use. The carts do not include a battery so you will need to use an extension cord to provide power to the equipment.  At your request, we will provide hands-on training in the use of the software and equipment.

If you are an SCLS LINKcat library, you can submit a reservation for use, with estimated dates, on the online Koha Support form.  Kits are available on a first-come, first-served basis.