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Send it to me in email

Subscribe If you've been following the Link 2.0 Koha blog, you probably already know that things are really hoppin' with Koha just around the corner.  One way to follow the blog is by using a feed reader.  Another is just to bookmark it and pop by periodically.  But did you know you can also subscribe to it by email?

At the bottom of the right column, you'll find 2 links:  one to subscribe via email and one for RSS.

Email subscriptions are also available for some of the other SCLS blogs, including:

  • TechBits  (my personal favorite  ;)   )
  • Get in the Van - News and items of interest for the Wisconsin Libraries' Delivery Service Network members
  • Know More - Current info on continuing education and learning opportunities from SCLS and other sources
  • Past Program Information & Handouts - Recordings and handouts from continuing education programs. 

Feeling overwhelmed by email?  You might want to try creating some Thunderbird filters.  For example, I have one filter so that the "SCLS Top 5" emails get filtered into their very own folder, and another that puts emails with monthly database statiscs in another folder.

Did you get the memo about MS Office?

Ahh, I'm also gonna need you to go ahead and come in on Sunday, too... Don't be sad If Santa doesn't bring Microsoft Office for your library. As you may have heard by now, you can order Microsoft Office from SCLS. In the past we would recommend ordering from our vendor PC Mall, but now we have volume licensing available for Microsoft Office 2010 licenses at $57.00 each (That’s a steal as you may know if you have been pricing Office). It’s simple to get by calling the helpdesk at (608)242-4710.  We do have a few restrictions as to which PCs can receive Microsoft Office. All PCs must have at least a 2.8MHz Pentium 4 processor and a minimum of 1GB of RAM installed. We will also not be installing Office on any Catalog-only patron PCs. If you have any questions regarding Microsoft Office feel free to give us a call and we will be happy to answer them.

There's no place like Home Library (LINKcat libraries)

Smithsonian (American History) Dorothy's Ruby Slippersphoto © 2009 George Martin | more info (via: Wylio)

If your library subscribes to an online resource (through WiLS) that isn't available to all of SCLS, access to that resource is determined by a patron's "home library" in Dynix.

What does this mean?  An example. 

If I live in the Town of Scott in Columbia County and have the Portage Public Library as my "home library" in Dynix, I will have access to resources subscribed to by the Portage Public Library.

If, instead, I have the Pardeeville Public Library as my "home library" in Dynix, I'll have access to the Pardeeville Public Library's subscriptions.

What does changing a patron's "home library" affect?

For LINKcat libraries, the home library indicator serves two purposes: 

  • It determines where the patron will pick up holds.
  • It determines which databases the patron can access from outside the library. 

If you change a patron's home library to another library and the patron places a hold for an item in LINKcat, the pickup location will automatically be the patron's “new” home library (although the patron can change this, on a case by case basis, at the time s/he places a hold). 

Information about "Home Library" can be found here:  http://www.scls.info/resources/help.html

Have questions about this?  Ask Kerri or Rose.
What if a patron has the correct home library but still can't access the resource?  Contact Kerri and she'll get to the bottom of it!

Wylio for Creative Commons images

Three men at dusting booksphoto © 2008 New York Public Library | more info (via: Wylio)

Love it, love it, LOVE IT!!

Need help finding images for use in blog posts?  Check out this great review (via Sites and Soundbytes) of Wylio, a service that searches for Creative Commons images and then helps you format them for use on a blog or webpage.

The images in my post are a couple of examples of the end result.  See the credit in gray at the bottom with links back to the source and the original image?   And the caption that appears if you hover over the image?  Wylio did the heavy lifting.  I selected the size and how I wanted the image centered and Wylio provided the appropriate html code -- fantastically easy for people like me who are HTML-challenged.

Pretty nifty! 

Why are books always better than movies?photo © 2009 Massimo Barbieri | more info (via: Wylio)

Honey, I Proxied the Cat

I love movies that strike me as clever and funny and well-executed, like Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and other Rick Moranis films. Of course, it is not just movies I like, but all wit and humor, especially when I've been working too hard at the mad scientist thing; for example, while preparing for an ILS migration to Koha.

Speaking of which, what is going to happen to the paragraph above when we migrate? All of those hyperlinks go into LINKcat using a query syntax that is specific to the Dynix PAC server. That is not going to work too well for Koha. Or is it?

In short, yes, this should work just fine. These links (along with thousands of others like them in SCLS library web sites, email newsletters, blogs and other formats) are eligible for an automatic translation into Koha query syntax. We'll just need to mix a little Perl scripting with some Apache web server rules, add a gram or two of unobtainium, and finally expose the resulting catalog proxy server to a short burst of intense gamma rays...

Seriously though, smart folks at SCLS are working on smooth continuity of service for all "things that link to LINKcat", and these things are looking pretty good overall. Most links should carry forward with ease. Stay tuned for details of how the SCLS catalog proxy server will help us pave over a number of migration speed bumps. When the dust has settled, no one should be singing the blues.

Christmas Shopping for Techno-Geeks

Photo_23905_20101207Jon Mark got you started with the 5 gifts for the Techie In Your Life and I'm here to give you even more ideas.

Ever since USB was developed way back in 1990 there have been loads of items created that use it; like mice, keyboards and flash drives.  There are lots of other things that use it as well that any techno-geek would love to have.

Who wouldn't love a USB Pen with MP3 Player and Voice Recorder that sells for $77.54, or how about a USB Shaver that sells for $16.00, or a USB Cup to Heat and Stir Your Coffee that sells for $27.00.

For those of you that get cold at work you could always buy yourself a USB Mouse with Built-In Heater that sells for $34.59 or to be more in the Christmas spirit you could always buy the USB Christmas Heating Gloves that sell for $19.00.  But, if your hands aren't what get cold, you could use the USB Seat Cushion Warmer in either a Bear or Sheep design that each sell for $19.90.

If none of these items interest you then go over to the website 10 USB Gadgets to Help You Through the Winter to see if you can find something that does interest you or a techno-geek that you know.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a successful Koha migration!

Image courtesy of Filomena Scalise / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

5 gifts for the Techie In Your Life

ImagesI'll admit it:  I'm not the easiest person to shop for at Christmas.  The things I like are either hard to find, expensive,  or both.  So when the holiday rolls around, my friends and family always seem to be stumped when it comes to Xmas shopping.

Maybe you know someone that fits this profile too.  Well, you're in luck this holiday season.  Here are five gift ideas sure to please the Geek in your life:

1) Self Powered Radio with Cell phone Charger (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B001QTXKCE)

With a solar panel, a hand crank, flash light, four radio bands, and a plug to charge your cell phone, this little radio is a must-have addition to any emergency kit.

2)USB Audio Interface (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000KW2YEI)

For under $30, you can finally transfer that awesome mix tape you made Freshmen year to CD!

 3) Cell Phone Hip Flask (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000MELSJQ)

Tired of the Man telling you where and when drinking hard liquor is socially acceptable?  With this surreptitious little beauty, you--HIC!--make your own rules.

4) Webcam Missle Launcher (http://www.x-tremegeek.com/usb-webcam-missile-launcher.html)

Actually, this would be way more fun if you had one on each end of your webcam.  However, it's still a blast to launch missiles at unsuspecting callers.

5) Apple TV (http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/shop_ipod/family/apple_tv)

Coming in as the most expensive item on the list ($99), the Apple TV box brings Netflix, iTunes content, and a slew of other internet-related entertainment to your TV, courtesy of your home wireless network.

Have you found any awesome stocking stuffers this holiday season?  If so, share them in the comments below.

A peek behind the scenes

Behind the curtainphoto © 2006 erikhallander | more info (via: Wylio)

Everyone's talking about the move to Koha.  At first glance, it might appear that this only affects the ILS staff. (We wish!) Here's a little peek behind the scenes at some of the projects being tackled by other (non-ILS) tech staff:

  • figuring out printing.  Printing from an ILS can be fussy. (With the wrong settings in Dynix, your printout is badly formatted or never arrives!) We've been testing new models of printers and working out what settings they'll need in Koha. Figuring out how to have a PC easily print to both receipt printers AND regular printers in Koha has been a challenge.
  • ordering equipment.   Many libraries have been ordering new receipt and spine label printers.  (hooray for quiet thermal printers!)
  • planning for software roll-outs.  Receipt printing and offline circulation will both require software be installed on the hundreds of PCs that will use these features (possibly the weekend of "go-live"!)
  • making sure authentication works.  LINK patron data is used to log into Library Online and online resources (like OverDrive and EBSCO). For this to work, the Koha data needs to be pulled out and these services need to be configured to use it. One hurdle we've already overcome is that the Koha PIN/password is stored in a secure format, and Library Online is programmed to only read plain text. Doh!  (and "Thanks" to William for reprogramming LibOnline for us!)
  • planning for all those links.   Let's say your library posted a link (in a blog or on your webpage) to a specific title in LINKcat.  When we move to Koha, what happens to that old link?  Is it broken?  or is there some cool behind-the-scenes programming that makes it automagically work?  (we're hoping to have some cool programming!)
  • replacing Telecirc.  The replacement for Telecirc is here and is being configured and tested.
  • creating custom reports.  All those custom reports you rely on in Dynix need to be re-created (by us) on the new Koha platform.  Considering how much everything is still in flux on the Koha end, this has been tricky.

Add to the Koha preparations:

  • plans for migrating non-LINK PCs to the SCLS network
  • server replacements and upgrades
  • a new version of AntiVirus software
  • new tools for remote control
  • preparations to move to Windows 7 in 2011  (there's a GIGANTIC list of tasks associated with this item alone!)
  • normal day-to-day duties

and you have a very busy bunch of techs! 

OverDrive EPUB eBooks now supported on iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, and Android

Last month OverDrive gave us a sneak preview of a new OverDrive Media Console app for iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, and Android phones, with all-in-one support for EPUB eBooks and MP3 audiobooks. Today the new app is here!

(Email subscribers, remember to visit the TechBits blog to watch the video.)

Get the details on its features from the Digital Library Blog or download the app from the iTunes App Store, OverDrive, or Android Market.

Also just in time for the holidays, OverDrive has a printable eBook device "cheat sheet" (PDF) that lists supported eBook devices. Compatible eBook readers are listed in the Device Resource Center now too.

Want to Download Your Entire Facebook Profile?

If you’re like me, you may use (parts of) Facebook for very specific purposes.  At some point, you may want to access an ‘aged’ post but you don’t want to have to go through the time or effort of hitting the “older posts” link a bizillian times.  Facebook recently created a mechanism whereby you can easily download your entire Facebook profile , the contents of which are flat.  No ‘older posts’ button!  If you’d like to download your profile, here’s how.Logo2

  • Log into your Facebook account.
  • Click on Account in the upper right hand corner.
  • Select Account Settings from the drop down.
  • Select the learn more link associated with Download Your Information
  • Click the Download button
  • A Request My Download popup window will appear.  Click the Download button.
  • The message in the popup window will change to include the statement, “You will receive an email when your archive is ready for download.  Click OK
  • A new screen will appear letting you know that the download is Pending….  Close out of this screen.  It won’t prompt you to do so and it won’t go away on its own.
  • Depending upon the size of your Facebook presence, it may take several hours before you receive an email from Facebook notifying you that “Your download is ready”.


Because of some of their security precautions, things can start to get interesting and possibly entertaining after you click the link in the email. 

  • Type in your Facebook password when prompted and then click Continue
    A warning screen will appear stating, “This file contains sensitive information.  Because this download contains your profile information, you should keep it secure and take precautions when storing, sending or uploading it to any other services.”
  • This screen also includes a Security Check message.  For the next 5 screens, you’ll be given 3 photos per screen.  Each screen will be for one of your “Friends” and you’ll be given 5 possible names to choose from.  You need to match a name to the photo.


You would think that this would be easey but there were kid photos for people that I’ve only known for a few years and there were darkly lit, fuzzy  photos of performance artists (of which I know several).  Luckily, you have the opportunity to “skip” two identifications and be prompted with two new “Friend”-challenges instead.

After you pass the challenge tests , you can download your Facebook profile to your PC.  It will come packaged as a .zip file. Unzip the file and voila you have a snapshot of your Facebook contents to date.