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A collection of Kindle links

I don't actually *have* a Kindle....but I do run across lots of Kindle-related resources.

Here are a few I thought might be of interest:


How are you using your Kindle? What are your favorite Kindle tips, resources, or features?

Which is a better buy: cheap or expensive batteries?

What do watermelons in a slingshot and battery selection have in common?  Rhett Allain.  He’s a physics professor who blogs about science, technology and geeky things.
Watermelons in a slingshot:
A few years ago, a competitive reality show, The Amazing Race, had a "watermelons in a slingshot" competition.  Think Angry Birds...but different.  Based on the show’s video, Rhett calculated both the speed and impact, OUCH!, of the watermelon.

Battery selection:
Ever wonder which is a better buy, cheap or expensive batteries?  Earlier this week, Rhett deciphered the answer to this question by breaking this down into two separate questions:

  • “How much energy is stored in the battery?” and
  • “What does the battery cost?” 

The professor made measurements and ran calculations on Energizer, Duracell and Dollar Store batteries. 

Results: The more expensive batteries stored more energy.  But, what happens if you divide the energy by battery cost?  He terms this the “money-energy density”.  Which battery has the best money-energy density?  Basically, all three batteries have a similar money-energy density.  Is that what you would have guessed?

Rhett notes however that how the battery is used may be a determinant as to which type to select.  For example, some electronics do not function below a certain power threshold: think Wii or battery-powered objects that move.  The cheaper battery looses power fairly rapidly so this may be an issue with power-sensitive electronics.

Digital Learning Day Feb. 1, BadgerLearn BadgerLunch Feb. 2

Digital Learning Day poster with GarfieldThere are a few library/education tech-learning opportunities coming up:

Feb. 1 is Wisconsin Digital Learning Day

As part of a national celebration, the Wisconsin education community will highlight and explore digital learning practices that can improve students' education and save money for schools. Teachers are the main audience for this event, but librarians can participate too. Find out about Wisconsin events and take advantage of the toolkits that are available. Bonus(?): Digital Learning Day Garfield artwork.

Feb. 2  is BadgerLunch's BadgerLearn Webinar

Explore BadgerLearn, Wisconsin’s Collaborative Learning Space and Training Portal, by attending a BadgerLunch webinar at noon on Feb. 2. No need to register—to join click: http://ow.ly/84pEU. View all upcoming BadgerLunch webinars (PDF).

The Timeline for Facebook's Timeline

Facebook TimelineIt's official. Facebook will be rolling out the Timeline feature to all users in the next few weeks.

What about Timeline for your library's Facebook page?
"Not yet," says Facebook.

Need more info about Timeline? Check out Pat's previous TechBits post about Timeline.  

All about Online Resources

With all the database subscription changes for 2012, I have the Online Resources at the front of my brain. Here are some things to keep in mind about them:

Not all libraries subscribe to all resources
Beginning in 2010, not all SCLS libraries subscribe to all online resources. What does this mean?

We use scripts for access
When a user wants to access an Online Resource, they click on a link. This link takes the user to one of our authentication scripts. The script:

  • checks if the patron is in a subscribing library. If so, we pass them right through to the resource. If the patron isn't in a subscribing library, the script...
  • prompts the patron for their barcode. If the patron's barcode has a "home library" that is a library that subscribes to the resource, we pass them through to the resource.

If we get to the 2nd step where we check the patron's barcode, we pull this information from a custom patron database. Because of this...

Updates/Changes to patron information sometimes take an overnight
How do we get this custom patron database? Scripts build the database early each morning using yesterday's patron data. For LINKcat libraries, this means that if a patron just got a new card, renewed a card, replaced a card, or changed their home library, it will take an overnight before their "new" card information is available for authentication (be it for Library Online, OverDrive, or other Online Resources). For non-LINKcat libraries,the amount to time may vary from "overnight" to "a week or more," depending on the library's schedule for updating patron records. 

Who has access to what? -- Reciprocal cards.
We already know that access is based on Home Library. What should we know about "reciprocal cards"?

  • For regular Online Resources (SCLS Resources and Locally-Subscribed Resources), if a patron lives outside of SCLS but has a barcode from an SCLS library, they may use their home library's resources.  Example: If I live in Rock County and have an SCLS barcode with a home library of STO, I will have access to any Online Resources to which Stoughton Public Library subscribes.
  • For OverDrive, if a patron lives outside of SCLS, they must access OverDrive through their library system.  Example: If I live in Rock County and have an SCLS barcode with a home library of STO, I still must access OverDrive through the Arrowhead Library System's account using my Rock County library's card number. 

Why must OverDrive users access OverDrive through the library system where they live?QuestionMark
Because OverDrive is available statewide and costs are determined in part based on usage, SCLS libraries have opted to provide access to SCLS's OverDrive account only to SCLS residents. 

Whew! That's a lot of information!
Have questions?  Please contact Kerri!

PC Status Reports

The PC Status Reports have been updated.  The reports are usually updated a couple times each year, but you can call the Help Desk at anytime to have an updated copy sent to you.  If some computers were replaced at your library recently, there may be some discrepancies. 790.jpg

It is recommended that you replace about 20% of your PCs each year so that none are older than five years.  The SCLS Hardware Support Policy, the PC Status Reports and the PC Ordering form can be accessed from the SCLS Technology page.

More OverDrive Stats

OverDrive wowRemember this post from last August that discussed some of the OverDrive stats from our Jan-July 2011 comparison spreadsheet?  In it, we had projected possible totals for 2011 usage and compared 2010 stats with those projected 2011 numbers.

Well... you may be interested to see the actual 2011 totals. Turns out almost all libraries exceeded the projections!

Each spreadsheet has 4 pages (tabs at the bottom):

  • 2010 totals by library (ebooks, eaudio, video, totals)
  • 2011 totals by library (ebooks, eaudio, evideo, totals) 
  • Comparison by library (with % increase for each of the above)
  • System Statistics

Whaddya think of that?!

Keep track of ideas with Pinterest

LogoRedPinterest is a new social networking site that calls itself an "online pinboard" to "organize and share things you love." In other words, it's like Delicious, but with pictures. Crafters, bloggers, and designers are wild about it. And librarians!

Wait, how are librarians using it? I wondered that myself until I attended the Pinterest for Librarians webinar from Indianhead Federated Library System and learned that Pinterest is helpful for finding and trading programming ideas, especially among children's and YA librarians, and for connecting with parents who may also be Pinterest users. (Of course!)

Learn more: Pinterest: A Beginner’s Guide to the Hot New Social Network and Pinterest: 13 Tips and Tricks for Cutting Edge Users, both from Mashable.

Here are a few library sources pondering Pinterest:

Are you on Pinterest? How are you using it for work (or play)?

A Silent Post - Insert Multiple Rows In Excel

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Database and OverDrive stats

Counting db statsIt's that time of year again!

2011 Usage statistics by library for SCLS online resources  and many "Locally-Subscribed Resources" are now available: http://www.scls.info/reference/libstats/index.html. There is a short page of info about the statistics.

OverDrive checkout statistics for 2011 are also available.  There are monthly listings here (in .xls format, underneath the table): http://www.scls.info/statistics/2011databases.html#overdrive. This year, we also ran monthly usage stats for 2009-2011 for each of the SCLS libraries.  I put these reports in 2 Excel workbooks --- 1 for libraries A-M, and 1 for libraries N-W and counties (Columbia, Green, Sauk, and Wood). Once you have the workbook open, check the tabs at the bottom to find your library's information.

Why are these numbers interesting?

  • They can give you a pretty good picture of which online resources your patrons and staff know about, like best, and are using the most.
  • They might also give you a better idea of which resources need some extra mention and/or extra training.
  • And with the OverDrive monthly statistics, you may see when patrons are using the service most (summer when they go on vacation? January when they're trying out their new devices?) and find good opportunities to promote the service.

 Please contact Kerri with any questions.