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BookRiotLast summer, I told you about book podcasts that I listen to and one of them is All the Books by Bookriot. The podcast is just over a year old and still going strong and I'm still listening to it every week. One of the hosts, Liberty Hardy, has been talking about Litsy for a while and I've resisted checking it out.

Then, I came across this tweet from Bookriot today and clicked on the link to get the coloring sheet (yes, I've joined the adult coloring book phenomenon) and saw a reference to Litsy and decided to check it out. That tweet and post led me to this one: 10 Wonderful People to Follow on Litsy by Liberty and decided to give it a try.

For all the details on how Litsy works, read this post by Brenna - another Bookriot writer. While signing up for an account was easy, I wasn't sure of how Litsy worked exactly or why I'd be interested and this article helped immensely.

LitsyI signed up today and set up my profile and am starting it from where I am right now in my reading life. My next TechBits post will be at the end of July so here's the plan. I'll play around with and use Litsy to capture all the books I read in the next few weeks and report back to you.

If you're already using Litsy, let me know in the comments or find me on Litsy and share your experiences.

P.S. I'll still keep up my LibraryThing account - I've had that account for almost 10 years!




Create a shortcut to a website

I recently helped someone who wasn't very comfortable with computers. One of the things she wanted to do was have an easy way to navigate to her 2 or 3 favorite websites.

As with many things in Windows, there a couple ways to solve this.
(Click on images to view them full-size)

Make a desktop shortcut DesktopShortcut

  1. Open your browser and navigate to the desired website
  2. Resize your browser window so it isn't full screen (you need to be able to see a portion of your desktop)
  3. Click and drag the icon next to the URL in the address bar to your desktop

The next time you want to visit the website, you'll just need to double-click on your desktop shortcut!

Create a bookmark Bookmark

  1. Open your browser and navigate to the desired website
  2. Press Ctrl-D to bookmark the page  (did you know this keyboard shortcut?  It works in Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer!)
  3. Edit the information about the bookmark as needed and save it to your desired bookmarks folder

The next time you want to visit the website, you'll just need to select it from your list of bookmarks. 

I use some of each -- bookmarks for things I'll come back to again and again, and desktop shortcuts for interesting articles I want to read later but really only need once (then it's easy to delete the shortcut). For the person I was helping, desktop shortcuts proved to be the perfect solution for her small list of favorite sites.

What's your favorite way to navigate to your favorite sites? 

Office 365 Mail Clutter Feature

I had a few people ask me about the Clutter feature in Office 365 mail recently.  Clutter automatically filters out email that you normally ignore and stores it in the Clutter folder instead of the Inbox.  According to the Microsoft documentation, Clutter studies the following to learn your email reading behavior: 

  • The sender Messydesk-300px

  • Whether you participated in the conversation

  • If you’re the only recipient

  • Its importance

You can fine-tune the Clutter feature by right-clicking low-priority mail in your Inbox and selecting Move to Clutter.  You might notice mail in your Clutter folder that you would prefer to appear in your Inbox.  You can right-click this mail and select Move to Inbox.  Within my email, Office 365 has learned that I rarely read Announce emails dealing with Job Announcements and Giveaways.  Those emails automatically get moved to my Clutter folder.  On Sunday evenings I receive an email summarizing what the Clutter feature has been doing for me the past week.

To disable Clutter:

  1. Log into your Office 365 Email
  2. Click the Settings icon (the little gear at the upper-right)
  3. Click Mail at the bottom beneath My app settings
  4. Click Clutter at the left
  5. Uncheck Separate items identified as Clutter
  6. Click Save

Working with Excel’s tabs


 Until recently, I had a pretty limited understanding of some of the options that are available with Excel’s tabs: add, remove and rename. Here are some new tab ‘tools’: color coding, quick pick list and making alltabs go away.

In the past, a typical set of tabs might look like what's below. The tabs had basic labeling. 



What if you could color code your tabs? You can.

  • In Excel, select Format from the Home tab.
  • Select Tab color from the Organize Sheets section.
  • Select a color from the Theme Colors matrix
  • Note: You’ll only be able to see the results of your work after you make another tab the ‘active’ tab.


What if you had a tab pop up list and you could just jump to a specific tab? You can.

  • Excel has a series of arrows in the lower left hand corner.
  • Right click any one of them and a tab pick list will pop up.
  • Select the tab of interest in the list and Excel will take you there.


But wait, there’s more!

What if you wanted more Excel real estate and wanted your tabs to ‘go away’ completely. You can.

Select File, Options, Advanced and then remove the check from Show sheet tabs in the Display options for this workbook section.


Website editing tips: Shift+Enter and Paste as Plain Text

These two website editing tips got such a positive reaction at the latest Drupal Basics website training session that I want to shout them from the rooftops:

Shift+Enter is the keyboard shortcut for "Make a line break without starting a new paragraph and adding a margin of space between lines," like so:


This tip does double-duty: it works in the editor SCLS provides for Drupal websites, and it works in Microsoft Word. This and more keyboard shortcuts are in the Glorious Guide to Keyboard Shortcuts (which was written for Drupal sites hosted by SCLS, but most of the shortcuts are standard across many apps).

Paste as Plain Text (Paste-as-plain-text) is the editing toolbar button to use when you copy a chunk of text and want to paste it into your SCLS-hosted Drupal website without dubious font/size/color formatting. The button opens a popup dialog, and you just hit Ctrl+V to paste your text in. Once pasted, the text will lose all its formatting and you'll be able to reformat it using the toolbar options. It's not just for brand new pages, either—you can also copy existing website content where you have been fighting with troublesome formatting, and paste it in as plain text to start fresh. Also good to know: Remove Format and Source buttons and Ctrl+Shift+V.

Exercise Your Mind with State Resources

BrainContinuing last summer's successful Super Librarian Powers (SLP) Project focusing on databases, Jean Anderson is going to exercise our minds while exploring our state's treasure trove of online resources.

Jean writes:

Most every month, I meet with a group of librarians from state agencies like the State Law Library, Legislative Reference Bureau, Historical Society, Department of Transportation,Department of Justice, Employee Trust Funds, and Resources for Libraries & Lifelong Learning - just to name a few. I learn something new at every meeting and have found a way to share that knowledge with you.

Starting next Monday, June 13, Jean will explore the publicly available resources for six or seven agencies on the Know More blog. Look for a new blog post every other Monday through early September, or subscribe to the blog to automatically receive the posts via email. Stay tuned!

Project Cards & More from Denver Public Library

BlueBearAt the PLA Conference this past April in Denver, I attended a program called Tech Assistance for Cutting Edge Communities. One of the speakers, Tracy Treece, is from the Denver Public Library and she spoke about Project Cards and the many technology classes offered by the library. I was especially intrigued when she said that the Project Cards and the handouts and lesson plans for the classes are all available online.

Check out the Project Cards from Denver Public Library's IdeaLAB. There are six categories: Art & Design; Electronics; Game Design; Music; Video; and Web Design. There are anywhere from 2-9 projects in each category and each project is given a star rating for difficulty. Each card covers the basics, includes great screenshots, step-by-step instructions, and ideas for more.

Next up are the Technology Classes. And, there are a lot of options here and some are even in Spanish. No, you don't have to drive or fly to Denver to take the classes. The handouts and lesson plans are available for you to use for your own learning or in a class at your library. Look at this class for Craigslist 101 and you'll see what I mean. The lesson plans are detailed and include pretty much everything you need to replicate the class in your library.

Everything that Denver has put out there is published under Creative Commons Attribution license. You can use these resources anyway you'd like as long as you credit Denver Public Library. Thanks DPL!



Find a Grave, or why I love technology.

I attended the Support Staff and Circulation Services conference in La Crosse, Wisconsin last week.  I really enjoyed all of the sessions I attended but one piqued my interest so much I spent way to much time later that night exploring.

Barry McKnight works in the La Crosse Public Library Archive Department and he presented a session on "Local History Programming and Partnerships".  One of their programs, "Dark La Crosse", sounded like something I would want to do as a tourist.  As I was researching the LPL Archives and Local History Department's webpage, I kept finding new and interesting links to investigate and, as I said, spent waay too much time exploring.

But my favorite was "Find a Grave".  How cool is that?  Instead of driving and walking and writing to various municipal clerk offices you can plug in a name, or a cemetery or add photos or .....  The last time I was at our family's cemetery I couldn't locate my maternal grandmother's gravesite.  And my Mom and my Aunts couldn't remember either.  But with the use of this tool I found the section, lot and space number. 

I love technology.

Info Sheets for BadgerLink Resources

BadgerLink recently announced they've added "Info Sheets," short and easy-to-digest training materials for educators, librarians, and the general public.  The Info Sheets give a quick overview of the navigation of each resource and also provide information about full-text availability, how to access a permalink, if there is an automatic citation feature, and copyright information for the resource.

Access NewspaperARCHIVE info sheet (p.1)

The Info Sheets and many other types of training materials can be found on the BadgerLink Training page.

More information about the Info Sheets can be found in this  "Announcing Info Sheets and Training Survey" post on the WI Libraries blog.