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CCD Barcode Scanner

Brian exhibits proper form as he scans a virtual library card. SCLS recently purchased a Unitech MS335 CCD scanner for testing.  As you may have read from Kerri's post about virtual library cards, this type of scanner is capable of reading barcodes stored on a Smartphone.  The scanner can also read the standard barcode stickers on items and patron library cards.  If your library is thinking about supporting virtual library cards, you may want to borrow our CCD scanner.  Call the Help Desk if you would like to have the scanner sent to your library for a trial period.  If you decide you like the scanner and find it worthwhile to support virtual cards, we can discuss ordering a CCD scanner for the library.  The scanners cost about $100 and plug into a USB port.

More on virtual library cards...

In February, I wrote a post about "scanning a smartphone as a library card."  A recent article in Library Journal discusses library cards on smart phones and library policy, mentioning that some libraries have revised their policies to make it clear they accept these as valid cards.  With the rise in popularity of apps like CardStar and Key Ring, what will your library's response be if presented with a virtual card--- will you accept it?  is it important that your scanners can scan it?

If your library chooses to honor virtual cards, you might wonder, "How can LINKcat library cards be entered into CardStar?"

  • "+" to add a card
  • Select merchant   (I had no luck with the "scan a barcode" option)
  • Library
  • Scroll down to the bottom (our libraries aren't currently listed) to select "(Other Library)"
  • Enter appropriate info
    • Membership Number (= library card number)
    • Card Title
    • Barcode Symbology
      • Codabar
      • Start Code:  A
      • End Code:  B

If you wish to have your library entered in the list of libraries, you must register with CardStar (I'm guessing that when you do this, you can specify your barcode type so that patrons never have to know the barcode symbology if they select your library). See "How do I get my merchant card added to CardStar's database?" on this "Merchant Support" FAQ.

Remember - our current metrologic laser scanners won't scan from smartphones. If your library is interested in scanning barcodes from smartphones for patrons, you'll need a CCD scanner (see Andrew's post for more info). If you don't wish to invest in a CCD scanner, you can manually type in the barcode.


Here are some libraries that not only honor virtual cards, but are promoting use of their library cards with smartphones!

What do you think?  Is a virtual library card a risk?  Or is it an opportunity to encourage library use?

A small collection of collections

Speaking of bathrooms and collections...  here's the collection of critters found in the Women's Bathroom at SCLS-HQ Some of the interesting things I've run across in past weeks:

  • Wikimedia Commons - a collection of "public domain and freely-licensed educational media content (images, sound and video clips)"
  • Springfield Township High School Virtual Library's "New Tools" - a collection of everything from polling and survey tools to eBook and iPad info.  Lots to look through!
  • Mashable's "5 Free Tools for Creating a Screencast" - a collection of free screencasting tools (plus short reviews of each)
  • "10 Twitter Features You May Be Missing" - A collection of features that you may be inadvertently ignoring (I found at least 2 that I had overlooked and was glad to know about!)  I've also run into some Twitter terminology lately that I needed to look up, leading me to Twitter FAQ: RT, HT, OH, ETC - a collection of Twitter "Frequently Asked Questions."
  • Bathroom Newsletters - A collection of feedback on the topic of newsletters for bathrooms.  Really.  (Totally not a "tech" collection, but I'm including it anyway! I hadn't really stopped to think about the possibilities before, but when I ran across this, I thought about how some restaurants actually put advertising in stalls.  Advertising that businesses PAY to put there.  Opportunity?  Captive audience?  Hmm....) 

What interesting things have you run across?

SCLS has improved computer ordering! It's now a one stop shop!

Are you excited? I sure am! (at least about this, my NCAA brackets aren't looking good.) The days of trying to figure out who you call to order computers are over.  SCLS has combined LINK and non-LINK ordering.  You now have a one stop shop for purchasing comptuers. The new way of doing this is really easy, here are the steps:

  1. Head over to scls.info, Find the technology section and click "more", and choose ordering.
  2. Enter the correct logon info. (If you have questions, give us a call (608-242-4710)
  3. Select the pc order form link and choose your pc.

If you have any questions about this new ordering method, please let us know!

Know where you're going

Nami at 10 weeksKittens are cute bundles of almost boundless energy and curiosity.  But let’s face it, at that age their sense of self preservation isn’t usually well developed and they often leap into things without looking.  If something looks interesting, they’ll just go for it, without realizing that paper bag their about to jump on to reach the toy doesn’t actually have a top.  That’s what a lot of scammers are counting on as well.  That their link, attachment, email or web page look interesting and safe enough for you to use. 

Even if the web page or email looks “official”, it’s not an indication that it is legitimate.  Many scams that are trying to trick you into clicking on a link or entering your information go through the effort of trying to look official to encourage you to use them.  In just the past week, I’ve gotten scam emails supposedly from Twitter, Facebook and even the FDIC that copied the look and/or logos to try to trick me into thinking they were real.  Banks, credit cards and Facebook have been the target of more than one phony login page scam as well. 

Before you click on a link, it’s not a bad idea to check just where the link is going.  If you put your mouse cursor over a link—don’t click, just place the cursor over the link—you’ll see the real address.  In Thunderbird, Firefox and Internet Explorer it’s in the lower left hand corner of the window.  So if you’ve got any doubts about a link, take a few seconds to check where it says it's going.

Example of the fake Twitter email:

Fake Twitter email
If you look in the lower left hand corner, you'll see the URL isn't even close to a URL you'd expect to see from Twitter. 

Backing up your bookmarks

Xmarks I wanted a way to access bookmarks that I created on one of my PCs to another PC in my house and at work without saving them to a flash drive and transferring them that way.  I found Xmarks formerly "Foxmarks" and it does the job quite nicely. I installed it as a Firefox add-on and uploaded my bookmarks to the Xmarks server. It also works with Internet Explorer, Chrome and Safari. You do have to create an account to sync and access your bookmarks. Now I can access my bookmarks on any PC with an internet connection. Jon Mark wrote about the Demise of Delicious. This could be used as an alternative; it has a Delicious import feature. I also like that I can create profiles for work, home and my smart phone while keeping those separate from one another. It also makes a great backup tool for your bookmarks so if you have to have your operating system re-installed you can quickly re-load your bookmarks.

Double-click smaller, double-click full screen

Here's a quickie "how did I not know this?!" tip:

Instead of using the little button in the corner to "Restore Down" (to less than full screen) or "Maximize" (to full screen), you can just double-click on the blue title bar!

Title bar

(this works in all the programs I've tested so far)


Here's how I did in Austin / @ SXSW these past few days (well, according to foursquare).  Not pictured:  the photo © 2009 dennis crowley | more info (via: Wylio)

Lots of folks have smartphones these days and they're using all sorts of social and geolocation type apps.  One of these apps is foursquare, whose recent infographic reports, among other things, a growth of 3400% in 2010.  Here's foursquare's video about how to use foursquare, and here's a short clip (1:46) of one of the founders discussing the goals of the location-based social networking application.

What does foursquare (and other similar services) mean for libraries?
Users may be "checking in" at your library and leaving tips and comments for other users.  I did a quick check for some of our member libraries and found foursquare tips for Madison PL (most branches), Middleton PL, Sun Prairie PL, and Verona PL.  Neat!

Claiming your location
As we've mentioned in the past for Google Maps, you can claim your location.  By doing this, you can control the information put out about your library (address, phone number, etc). If you claim your location on foursquare you can also, if you wish, offer "promotions" for your patrons.

Even if you don't want to jump the hoops to claim your location, by creating a foursquare account you will be able to add or edit your library's location (it's always nice to have a correct street address, isn't it?) and add categories and tags.  When foursquare users look to see what's in the area, your library can be represented.

More information about foursquare and libraries
There was a great article in the November 2010 issue of Computers in Libraries, "Tech Tips for every librarian.  Location, Location, Location: Making foursquare Work for Your Library", that gives some suggestions for how your library might make use of this service. This article is available online through EBSCO (direct link).  If you can't access it through the direct link, try going to EBSCO through SCLS or through BadgerLink and doing a search for "foursquare" and "library".

Staying safe using foursquare and other geolocation apps
If you decide to explore using foursquare personally, you may want to review guidelines for staying safe using geolocation-based apps.  The argument has been made that broadcasting your location with your check-ins may put you at risk for burglary and other safety issues.  At the very least, look through the privacy settings and know what's being broadcasted (don't automatically broadcast to a public Twitter account, for example), and be careful who you "friend" and allow to see your updates.  Here are two posts that address safety using foursquare and other geolocation apps: "Foursquare Etiquette and Safety", and "Staying Safe on Foursquare and Facebook Places"

Keeping tabs on what people are saying about you & exploring your town
And... even if you don't want to claim locations or create accounts or become the mayor of local businesses, you can always see what people are saying about your library-- just take a peek at Google maps, Yelp!, and foursquare to see if your library has reviews or tips. These sorts of services are also a good way to see what's popular in an area...just take a look at these highly-reviewed places around Madison.   And here's an interesting article about the 200,000 foursquare check-ins at the SuperBowl (Packers fans dominated!).

And the winner is...

The lucky winner of the Amazon gift certificate is.... (drumroll, please)

ThankyouNancy Meyers of the Monroe Public Library!

A BIG thanks to everyone who entered our contest and left us comments! We hope to cover as many of the suggested topics as we can in upcoming months.

We appreciate your participation and input, so please continue to comment and give feedback on our posts. We're excited about TechBits and want to make the topics we write about as useful as we can!

Auto Repair Reference Center Beta Site Preview

Auto enthusiasts and reference librarians, take note! The EBSCOhost database Auto Repair Reference Center, available to Wisconsin residents through BadgerLink, will finally be getting an updated interface. EBSCOhost hasn't announced when the new interface will go live, but previews are available.

Auto Repair Reference Center Beta logo To access the Auto Repair Reference Center Beta Site, visit our EBSCOhost services page and scroll down to find the link to Auto Repair Reference Center Beta (look for the green-and-yellow "Beta" icon). (Note:  A library card from an SCLS library is required if you are accessing the EBSCOhost services page outside of an SCLS library.)

Preview webinars (March 16 and March 25) and a 5-minute video preview are also available from EBSCOhost (no access restrictions).