Monday, September 29, 2008

House Leadership Declares "Martial Law"
Librarians fondly remember the Section 215 gifts they received from the "Patriot(sic) Act" in October 2001. The "Patriot(sic) Act" was printed the night before it was presented to Congress and passed with very little debate, thereby allowing friendly FBI agents access to library records.

Well the current "Bailout Bill" may include similar presents for us all, but because the House Leadership has declared "Martial Law" there will be no debate. A bill planning to spend over one half trillion dollars is being muscled through our legislature in a manner specifically designed to prevent legislative oversight.

If this concerns you, you may want to contact your representative and ask to read the bill before they vote upon it.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Texting your business cards

Ok, you're are at a conference and need to give your business card to someone.

Instead of lugging around a half inch pack of cards ... try dropcard
Set up a free account, send a text message to someone's phone and "voila" they have your contact information.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

University of Michigan and Books on Demand

Finally an Espresso Book Machine from On Demand Books is installed in a library and working -not as a demonstration project but simply as an additional library service. From the University of Michgan's press release: "The book machine, located in the Shapiro Library lobby on U-M's Central Campus, prints out-of-copyright books from the University's digitized collections. At a cost of about $10 per book, the service is available to researchers, students and the public.

The printing process begins with a reader selecting a digitized book from U-M's pre-1923 collection or from another online source, such as the Open Content Alliance. Most books printed prior to the early 1920s can be reprinted without seeking the permission from whomever holds the copyright. Then the file is downloaded to the Espresso Book Machine, where it is formatted, printed and perfect bound with a four-color cover. A finished printed book takes 5-7 minutes, depending on the number of pages."

Here's a link to the press release and a short video. Imagine someday visiting a library with another networked Espresso Book Machine and buying a copy of a book from the University of Michigan's collection in just a few minutes! How cool is that!?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Worldcat for iPhone

Find what you want in a library near you with WorldCat, a global catalog of library collections.

- Search many libraries at once for an item and then locate it in a library nearby
- Find books, music, and videos to check out
- Find research articles and digital items (like audiobooks) that can be directly viewed or downloaded

Print What You Like

Go green and ... Print What You Like is a free service that lets you pick an choose the elements web page you want to print without downloading any additional screen print software.

Now you can avoid those empty spaces an empty pages and the downright impossiblity of printing some some web pages!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Lifelong Learning - 100 sites

Here's an excellent site for free online courses and other learning tools.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Library Mini Golf

On of the more innovative methods of fund raising for libraries is Library Mini Golf!

From the site:

    Yes, we really will turn your library into an amazing miniature golf course for a day. We work with public, school, and academic libraries seeking a fundraising event that will also draw new patrons to the library and provide for a fun community event. We have hosted several events in Connecticut and Massachusetts over the last few years and have inspired and coached other events across the country.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Astounding movie done in typography

Set to Alex Gopher's, "The Child" this astounding short by Antoine Bardou-Jacquet follows a young couple through the city to the hospital for the delivery of their child. A simply brilliant example of communicating an idea through multi-media and featuring type. A mild warning for very light profanity is given.

Ubiquity for Firefox

Ubiquity an experimental Firefox extension that has the potential to change the way we interact with web content and web applications. Watch this cool little video to learn more:

Ubiquity for Firefox from Aza Raskin on Vimeo.


The rather suggestively presented ScanRobot is used to digitize books. Enjoy!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Presentational considerations.

There are some people who dislike PowerPoint presentations and claim that things would be better if presenters only used better software, like; Keynote, SlideRocket or Impress. Well maybe it's not the software, but the presenter flying the software. Consider these presentational methodologies before your next presentation.
  • The long bulleted list, complete with complete sentences that are read directly from the screen by the presenter and all viewers in the room. The bane of every audience but the easiest to create. Sort of like brain vomit on a particular topic, it's all there, but nobody really enjoys it. Even animating the bullets does not make it better.
  • The "Lessig Method",attributed to Stanford professor Lawrence Lessig. Think of it as less ig better. Each slide may have one or two words or a single picture getting the point across. A 10 minute presentation could have 100 slides. Enjoyable by the audience a lot of work to create and do well. Practice is required as there is little to cue the mouth of the presenter and "ah, um, hmm, huh" doesn't make for a smooth presentation.
  • In "Pecha Kucha" you have 6 minutes 40 seconds to present your entire presentation of 20, 20 second slides. Created in 2004 by Mark Dytham and Astrid Klein, Pecha Kucha is both art form and presentational competition. Check here to find the nearest 日本語 night in a city near you.
  • The "Lightning Talk" is a fast paced 5 minute presentation allowing a lot of topics to be covered in a short meeting time. You can spend several hours preparing a good 5 minute lightning talk because there is no time for "ah, um, hmm, huh" before the timer signals the end. For the presenter, the timer starts and ready or not, off you go. For the audience, the presentation may be terrible or great, but it is over in 5 minutes.
So somewhere between reading alot of text to an audience sitting in a darkened room and woa, 5 minutes is up already, take the time to create an interesting presentation that uses (not abuses) the multimedia abilities of your computer. Remember to practice and have fun, your audience will appreciate the extra effort.

Friday, September 05, 2008

dance, dance dance

It's a late Friday afternoon and maybe time for a smile. If you've never seen Matt Harding's dance video or if you've seen it before, it's sure to bring a smile to your face. Take five minutes on Friday for a break with this cheeful video.