Helpful Google

GoogleGoogle is so helpful what with its great search engine, play store and virtual assistant. I just recently learned that Google is helping in another way. Google now tracks all of the purchases that you make online. You may ask, "How does it know what I buy?" Well, Google is using all of their helpful software together to extract any data that relates to purchases. So if you get a purchase receipt emailed to your Gmail account they extract all of the purchase data from that email. If you're uncomfortable with this, there is unfortunately no option to turn it off. The only way to get your purchases off Google's purchase page is to delete the email. This doesn't really work if you want to keep a record of your purchases. So then the only option you have left is to not use Gmail when making purchases. Unfortunately in today's world everyone wants your data, especially Google.

Media Mentions

Novelist_button_200x100One of the questions reference librarians get is "I heard this author on NPR" or "I heard about this book TV" and they want to see if the library has it or if they can get it. Occasionally, patrons would only remember bits and pieces of the information needed to find the title. When I was at Sun Prairie Public Library, we used to receive the MOTOR list - Mentioned on TV or Radio - which helped quite a bit.

While it's easier now to find the answers to those questions using various websites, NoveList made it even easier with their new Media Mentions. According to a recent post on the NoveList blog, "Media mentions will track which new titles have garnered buzz on popular U.S. radio and network and cable television programs..." 

MediaMentionsIf a title has Media Mentions, they'll appear as part of the detail page of the book. You can also use Advanced Search and select one or more of the media sources like NPR's Fresh Air or Morning Edition or CBS This Morning. For example, I did an Advanced Search for titles talked about on CBS This Morning and my results included three fiction titles: City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert, Collusion by Newt Gingrich, and Insurrecto by Gina Apostol. The results also include the date the title was talked about on the show.

If your library subscribes to Novelist Plus, Media Mentions is available there, too. As this is a new feature, the Media Mentions included are relatively recent - within the last few months. The article doesn't mention how often Media Mentions is updated so if a patron is looking for something talked about on NPR this morning, it may not show up in NoveList immediately.

One other NoveList thing - they've teamed up with LibraryReads for a webinar on July 17 called Crash Course in Romance. It's scheduled for 1-2 p.m. Central Time with a short 15 minute optional training following the main webinar.

Happy reading!

Who ya gonna call? Cyber Response

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If you are a local government entity and you experience a cyber incident or threat, who ya gonna call? At the recent WiscNet Connections conference, I learned that there is something called the Cyber Response Team Program (CRT) that can assist your organization. They are described as the "volunteer fire department" of cyber security. It is funded through a grant provided by the Department of Homeland Security. According to the web page, there are currently three teams covering the state. This post in the DET Newsletter explains that the team assists with: prevention, protection, mitigation, response and recovery. 

Of course, if you are an SCLS Technology Services library, your first action when you experience a cyber incident or threat would be to call the Help Desk. 

 

 

 

 

Google Glass revisited

Remember Google Glass and how it was being marketed to consumers? Well, that really didn't take off (Thank goodness! The idea of everyone being able to record video and audio with their glasses felt a little creepy), but Google Glass is making headway in the business market. It turns out there are good uses for Google Glass there.

Google recently released a new version of the AR spectacles called "Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2." From their recent blog post:

"Workers can use Glass to access checklists, view instructions or send inspection photos or videos, and our enterprise customers have reported faster production times, improved quality, and reduced costs after using Glass."

If you have 2 1/2 minutes, check out the video and see what the future of Google Glass for the enterprise looks like.

Can you envision a way that libraries might use Google Glass?

More info:

Colón's manuscript

Usually we write about current and new technologies here but I'm changing it up this time and writing about old library technology.  About 500 years old. 

Hernando Colón, illegitimate son of Christopher Columbus, made creating the largest library in the world at the time his life's work.  Only about a quarter of the around 15-20,000 books he collected in the early sixteenth century still survive.  However, thanks to the discovery of the Libro de los Eptiomes manuscript, we now know have summaries of items that no longer exist. 

Once thought lost after Colón's death, the manuscript is made of nearly 2,000 pages of summaries of the items that had been in the collection. Colón had employed a team of writers to read and create a summary of every item and those summaries became Libro de los Epitomes.  His collection encompassed far more than just the classics, it also included items not usually found in collections of the day like news pamphlets, almanacs and ballads giving an insight into what people commonly read. 

There are currently plans to digitize and transcribe the manuscript. 

Library Planet

Sundsvall2smallRaise your hand if you visit libraries when you're on vacation. Consider my hand raised high and see the proof in the photo! Turns out, we're not alone. I read an article in Library Journal recently that proves it. Michael Stephens talked with Denmark librarians Christian Lauersen and Marie Engberg Eiriksson about their new crowdsourced travel blog, Library Planet, and how it came to life.

Library Planet started with a tweet from Lauersen to his followers about needing a Lonely Planet for libraries. Their followers were positive and the site was created and launched on November 17, 2018. It has entries from around the world and includes all types of libraries and is growing fast. I didn't see any entries from Wisconsin yet, though. I hope to see some there soon! Here's the information on how to contribute an entry.

SundsvallSmallThe first thing I thought of when I read this article was that I need to write up a couple of the libraries I visited in Sweden and Finland last year and submit them. What a great way to share my love of libraries to others who love libraries. I'll let you know when/if my entry on the Sundsvall Stadsbibliotek is on the site!

 

Rediscovering Excel Macros

What is a macro?  Macros are Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) codes that are saved inside a document.  They can be applied in several Microsoft Office Applications.  An analogy is to think of a document as HTML and the macro as Javascript.  A macro can manipulate a document similarly to the way Javascript can manipulate a web page.  Macros are powerful and can do many things including; apply style and formatting, manipulate data and text, communicate with data sources, create entirely new documents, and any combination of these. 

You must be asking, how can a macro help me?  They allow you to save time on predictable, repetitive tasks as well as standardizing document formats.  Now without having to write a single line of code!  I found myself having to run the same data sets for different libraries in our system regularly and exporting them into Excel spreadsheets.  I grew tired of all the customization and formatting within Excel I had to do each time.  Excel Macros were the answer for me!  Not only have they saved me time, but they have also helped improve consistency and accuracy. 

To create an Excel macro simply import your spreadsheet into Microsoft Excel.

  1. Select the View tab
  2. From there, select the Macros button and highlight the down arrow and select Record Macro.

1st pic

  1. From this point, go ahead and make your desired changes to the spreadsheet as you would normally do.
  2. When you are finished with your changes, go back to the Macro button down arrow and you will now select the option to Stop Recording.
  3. Close out of Excel and save your Macro.
  4. Once completed, the macro will be available anytime you open Excel under the Macro menu.
  5. Simply select View Macro and select which macro to use (if you have more than one saved).
  6. Then hit the Run button.

2nd pic

 

3rd pic

  1. The macro I created for the Library Weeding Reports completes the following tasks in Excel with just one click;
    1. Bolds and freezes the top row
    2. Converts barcodes to a number without decimal places
    3. Changes the print orientation to landscape
    4. Sets the correct margins
    5. Wraps the text
      (See my spreadsheet changes below.)

4th


I have gone on to create many Excel macros for the different data sets I run.  It’s amazing how intuitive macros have become in the last several versions of Microsoft Excel.  Please share with us how you use macros in the comments.

Things to keep in mind when getting a new printer.

There comes a time in every printers life where one invariably has to say goodbye. Whether it has worn out, or you just can't stand the sight of that old printer, it's time for a replacement.  

However, when it comes time for a new printer to be installed there are a few things to consider. 

                              Download

    1. Is this a new type of printer or just a replacement for the old one?


    2. Is this a staff printer, a patron printer, or both?  

    3. And finally, how critical is this printer?

These questions need to be answered in order to determine how much time it will take to complete the job.  A brand new printer will need to have every computer updated individually, and that can be very time consuming depending on the number of computers that will connect to it. 

It is very important that staff have the answers to these questions, and have called the Helpdesk, BEFORE the date of instillation....if at all possible. 

Keeping these things in mind will help us, help you, in the quickest most efficient manner!

 

Forward Analytics

The Wisconsin Counties Association formed a new research organization, Forward Analytics, to provide nonpartisan analysis of issues affecting the state. Their mission is “to use the best data available to highlight challenges facing the state, and to assist policymakers in understanding that data so they can make informed policy decisions”.  Worker shortages, changing demographics, and the opioid crisis are among the issues impacting the direction of the state and counties.

Research Reports and a “data lab” (compiled state statistics) are freely available on their website: forward-analytics.net. Be sure to check out their latest report: Falling Behind: Migration Changes and State Workforce.

ForwardAnalytics

Zamzar for converting files

WVLS has a new Digital Byte video that walks you through Zamzar, a free online file converting tool (also covered in these 2009 and 2018 TechBits posts).

Like the video format? Check out other Digital Bytes here.