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Out of sight, out of mind


All my life, I’ve had a “junk drawer” for those odds and ends that didn’t really go anywhere else or I didn’t want to deal with right then.  Since I didn’t have to look at them, the contents usually got ignored for a good long time before I’d sort trash from treasure.  Now I’ve also got a junk email folder.  While the contents of the folder and the drawer are quite a bit different, every so often I still need to go through that folder and see if there’s any treasure among all that trash.

As tempting as it is to leave your junk email folder as “out of sight, out of mind”, it is actually something you should look at occasionally to make sure nothing that you actually want ends up there.  Thunderbird, along with almost every other email program, has the ability to “learn” what you consider to be junk mail.  This is usually a really good thing since, after a bit of training, the amount of junk mail you see goes down.  But junk mail filters occasionally make mistakes and, if you don’t correct these mistakes, they “learn” the wrong things.

The recommendation for email with any sort of “learning” junk filter is to check the junk folder often when you first start using it.  And if you’re expecting an email that’s not shown up or if someone says they sent you an email and you’ve not seen it, it’s a good idea to check the junk folder.  As time goes on, you junk filter “learns” about your email and you should see fewer mislabeled genuine email messages so you can check the junk folder less frequently.  As far as how often you should go through and clean out the folder, a lot depends on how much junk mail you get and how much time you can stand to spend going through the junk.  I’d recommend at least once a month since some email programs delete anything marked junk that’s older than a month. 

USB Flash Drives for Patron PCs

2 GB Kingston Data Traveler A new edition has been added to the biannual coordinated order.  USB flash drives can now be purchased for around 6 to 8 dollars each.  We just completed a coordinated order a few weeks ago so you will have to wait until January to get in on the next one.  If you don't want to wait that long you can order your own. We purchased the 2 GB Kingston Data Traveler from CDWG. Something to be aware of if purchasing USB flash drives for your library to loan or sell to your patrons is to avoid getting drives preloaded with software (U3 or portable apps) you have to install before you can use your drive. SCLS supported patron PCs do not allow this kind of software to be installed, which is why we chose the Kingston Data Traveler. The Kingston Data Traveler has a 5 year warranty and boasts 10 years of data retention.

Turning data on end in Excel

Sometimes I have data that isn't oriented the way I'd like it in Excel (like a column that I wish was a row or a table I wish was turned on end). How can I change its orientation?

Here's a real-life example that I run into every week.

  • There is a script that results in 5 lines of numbers Numbers
  • When I paste it into Excel, it ends up as 5 cells in a *column*, but I'd like it in a row instead

What can I do to easily put the column data into a row?

  • Copy the data from the cells
  • Select the beginning cell of the row where I'd really like it
  • Right-click and select "Paste Special..."
  • Check the box for "Transpose"   PasteSpecialTranspose
  • Click "OK" to paste the data
  • Voila!  the column data is now row data NowRow

This "Transpose" action can be done on entire tables as well as columns and rows. See here for more information. 

Thanks to Pat who originally showed me this nifty trick!

The Count

At the tech committee meeting this week, members talked a little bit more about the "SCLS Hardware and Software Support Policy."  This policy is actually a combination of two existing (older) support documents, the "Non-LINK Hardware and Software Obsolescence Policy" and the "LINK Computer Hardware and Software Obsolescence Policy."

CountA couple of libraries had questions about why we try so hard to standardize. One of the reasons standardization is helpful is numbers. Sheer numbers. Ever wonder how many PCs the 3 SCLS PC techs lay their hands on?  When I started counting, the totals surprised me!

  • 484 staff PCs
  • 618 patron PCs
  • 41 servers for public wireless

so that's 1143 PCs and servers that are supported.

Add to that total:

  • SCLS gaming and gadget packages
  • 14 laptops in the SCLS wireless labs
  • 8 laptops in the SCLS training lab (for Koha)
  • the SCLS presentation package
  • RFID tagging stations
  • LOTS of printers, scanners, barcode scanners, and network devices 

That's a fair amount of equipment.  When you spread that over 7 counties and 57 buildings (56 libraries + SCLS headquarters)  with the shortest drive time 0 minutes and the longest more than 2 hours one-way ... you start to see what keeps them hoppin'!  

So how does standardization help them manage this load? The more standard the hardware is, the simpler and quicker it is for the techs to support it for the life of the hardware.  This means that 3 guys can handle all that stuff in all those places without needing additional help-- which helps keep costs down for the libraries. How awesome would it be to have 3 Craigs?



And until we can clone them...



"Count" photo credit:

"Clone" photo credit: Craig, Craig, Craig.

Taking out the trash in Thunderbird


Does your Thunderbird trash contain a lot of old, unwanted emails?  Do you wish there was an easy to "take out the trash" in Thunderbird?  Well, there is, and it's easy to setup.

  1. Open your Thunderbird account
  2. Go to Tools...Account Settings
  3. Click on Server Settings
  4. Click the checkbox next to "Empty Trash on Exit", unless it's already checked
  5. Click the OK button

Now whenever you delete an email it goes to your trash and when you exit Thunderbird all of your trash is automatically deleted.  WARNING!!!  Do NOT do this if you use Trash as a holding area or if you think you may need to get back a previously deleted email.  Once the trash is emptied it is gone for good with no way to get it back.

Choosing a reader

EReader For anyone wondering, "Kindle, Nook, Sony eReader, or iPad?"...."Librarian by Day" had a blog post last week with her thoughts about choosing a reader for eBooks.



Are you ready for OverDrive Training on August 10?

The basic OverDrive training session "Browse, Check Out, Download" is scheduled for Tuesday, August 10th at 2:00 PM, just for Wisconsin librarians. Learn how to browse, check out, and download titles from the Digital Download Center. At the end of this course, library staff should feel comfortable answering basic questions about the OverDrive download service. (This session is offered in advance of OverDrive's Training Month, to allow you to get the basic course out of the way and focus on more advanced courses during Training Month.)

A computer with Internet access and a telephone are all that are required to participate. No registration is necessary for this session, but please review the instructions for attending beforehand. Instructions for attending were sent via email and are also available at this link (note: SCLS website password is required to view the link).

Augmented Reality and your library


There's a lot of buzz these days around Augmented Reality (AR), especially if you own a smart phone.  However, you might be familiar with AR if you watch football on television.  That yellow line that signifies the first down line, superimposed over the playing field, is a good example of Augmented Reality at work.

Apps such as the Layar browser, FourSquare and CarFinder all are using some form of AR, allowing users to explore their environment, enhanced with information about restaurants, theaters, other businesses--and all sorts of other metadata.

That's why it's so important to make sure your information in sites like Google are accurate.  Take a look at this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TpZan96KHOM

and see how a commercial business leverages their online presence to gain new customers.  Now imagine your library doing the same thing.  

Rose already covered how to manage your library presence in Google Maps.  With the growth of Augmented Reality the need for patrons to find you is greater than ever.

Novelist New Version & Downtime Weds., Aug. 4

NoveList Plus Logo The release of the new version of NoveList is scheduled to begin on Wednesday, August 4th. To accommodate the complex implementation, NoveList will be temporarily unavailable during the transition period.

During that time, you will still have access to the NoveList Beta site. Clicking on the NoveList link from any of the SCLS Online Resources pages will take you to a “NoveList is Temporarily Unavailable” page where you’ll see a link to the NoveList Plus Beta site. While certain features are not available in the beta version, (e.g., personal folders and catalog linking) you will still have access to the complete NoveList Plus database. Because there is no Beta version for the K-8 products, all NoveList users will be directed to the same NoveList Plus Beta.

Many of you have already played around in the Beta, but if you haven't, you can still access it from the NoveList Plus homepage. You can also visit the NoveList Support Center for information on the new version release, and follow EBSCOhost on Twitter @NoveListRA for instant updates.