Archive for the ‘idea’ Category

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Is there an app for that?

In idea,Library Services,technology on July 14, 2011 by ultimatelibrarian Tagged: ,

I need a tool.  Or rather, a doctor I’m trying to help needs a tool.  And I feel like it should exist, but I’m kind of thinking it doesn’t.  I’ve solicited advice from all the lovely medlibs I follow on Twitter, and have had a few suggestions, but I’m not sure 140 characters really lets me describe my need.  But I have a blog!  A not-oft used blog, but that’s an issue for another time.

So.  Our hospital system’s libraries provide a Table of Contents service.  I’m in charge of the ToC for Administrators, a monthly aggregation of the latest issues of journals relevant to administrators that we subscribe to the full text of.  As I’m sure many of you are aware, e-journals are not all on the same platform.  On my Admin ToC, there’s even a non-e-journal (I think they call them print?) that I have to post the .PDF copy of.  Here’s what the page looks like:

Table Of Contents for Administrators ScreenShotSo you click on a title and you’re taken to the most current list of articles for that journal, maybe on the Ebsco platform, maybe on Ovid…maybe even on the Gale Health & Wellness Resource Center *shivers*.  All the full text is available to employees, but of course there a multiple clicks involved, and you have to save PDFs, and what if you just want a nice set of the articles you want to read later?  Our doc is a a tech-saavy guy, he knows how and that he could spend the time saving everything he wanted to read later, but what if he wants to just circle the ones he’s interested in, then pass it on to his assistant (or me) to nicely package everything together?

Can he do this:

Journal 2 Screen Shot + Journal 1 Screen Shot   —–> folder—–>assistant/me?

Does that make any sense?  Any help would be appreciated.  Oh, and the app?  Yeah, bonus if this is something my doc can do on his iPad.  I’ve had some thoughts/suggestions:

  • Springpad (captures URLs, which don’t work because of authentication issues, but it does let you easily e-mail things to others, and you could always say “I want 1 & 2 from this one” instead of circling…)
  • Instapaper (I don’t this would really work at all)
  • Skitch (seems overly powerful for what we want to do, and isn’t an app)
  • BO.LT (pretty cool tool for capturing and sharing webpages, but the authentication issues again come up…)

UPDATE: after looking at Jing, I’m thinking this tool might be my best bet…but it’s still not an app.  Is there anything like this available for iPads?   

Hacks, tricks, and all other alternate work-arounds are also welcomed!  This is something of a last ditch effort, and I thank all of my readers in advance.  🙂

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Goodbye for now

In idea,librarians,me on October 23, 2007 by ultimatelibrarian

I should have done this a long time ago… My apologies for my absence. And now there will probably be an even longer one, but not to worry, I’ll probably be back. 🙂

So, over the past 6 months, a few things have changed.  I graduated, so I am now able to “officially” call myself a librarian.  Unless you have to actually work as a librarian to call yourself one…I have my MLIS, and I am currently working as a Content Indexer.  Basically, I help maintain the content on MSN Shopping.  I’m quite happy to have a job, and I’m enjoying the fact that I don’t have homework anymore.  I’m living in a new house with a slightly different set of roommates, and my fiance and I have set a date for our wedding (but it’s not until 2009).  That’s the news.  I’m kind of busy enjoying my life, and I don’t have the fresh ideas popping up from class discussions anymore (for now…).  So I’m going to put this blog more or less on hold.  If I have a mind-blowing idea that I want to be able to reference in the future, I’ll put it up here, but maybe don’t hold your breath.  🙂  I may start a new, more personal blog, but that will remain to be seen.

 So, for my final entry for the time being, I’m going to post an idea that’s perhaps not outstandingly original, but it has been floating on a sticky on my desktop for some time. 

 Most libraries have regularly scheduled staff meetings, correct?  I’ve sat in a few of these at a couple of libraries as a student staff member.  Changes in policy, library events, and similar topics seem like pretty standard meeting fare.  I’d like to see some time in these meetings where frontline staff (basically, ANYONE who EVER could have contact with library users) take a few minutes to share an interesting comment/reference question/feedback/suggestion that he/she responded to (along with the response) since the last meeting.  Just to start a dialog and to help others respond to similar inquiries/comments in the future.  Kind of a living wiki.  🙂  And obviously, someone could keep track of all this info on an actual wiki.  But my thought is creating just a wiki isn’t useful if no one is using it.  And sometimes it’s hard to see the point of one.  Actually having a conversation may draw people in that wouldn’t normally.  And it’s a little more informal; you could use these dialogs to track patterns and look for new areas of service and policy, or it could simply be a time to learn from each other’s strategies and maybe even share a sense of solidarity at some of the things that can come up…

If you know of somewhere this or something similar is done (doesn’t have to be a library), please share! 

Moving along, I wish you all the best.  Thanks for reading!  🙂  If all goes according to plan, I’ll be back, and maybe I’ll have stories to share about actually implementing some of my scattered ideas.  In the meantime, you can find me at some of my online hangouts:

До свидания, друзья!   

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How to Successfully Host a Conference

In idea,ischool,libraries on March 29, 2007 by ultimatelibrarian

Wouldn’t it be fun to have a half-day conference at your library/library school/other information setting? Think of the professional development, the showcasing of your staff’s/students’ skills, and just a different kind of program to brighten up your community’s day, week, whatever.

iEdge 2007 is a good example.
The 3 themes of the conference are information is people, information is social, and information is practical.

Keynote speaker: Stu Weible

Global Libraries Initiative (Darren Hoerner, Gates Foundation; Kara Fox, iSchool)
(Information is Practical)

  • The Internet is a crucial tool for the dissemination of information.
  • Why public libraries? Ideally situated, librarians are great moderators.
  • Strategy: Research, resources, and sustainability
  • What & Why: Need and Readiness are the criteria partnerships with other countries are based on.
  • Grant-making research process: global scan of countries, goal to target transitioning economies; next steps looking at individual countries and contract with outside research firm (using research template) and stakeholders in-country.
  • Challenges include finding effective means of research (in-country more effective), bias/neutrality (triangulate with other sources in and outside country), much of the information is difficulat to find or old.
  • Grantee research built into grant
  • Chile example: 100% of public libraries now have computers, help promote small business and agriculture.
  • UW Graduate Research Assistant role: contributes to research and evaluation at all phases, brings in an outside perspective.

Global Libraries Initiative (Darren Hoerner, Gates Foundation; Kara Fox, iSchool)
(Information is Practical)

I also attended a panel discussion called “Patients, Clinicians, Insurers or Administrators: Who’s Your User? Can User-Centered Design Work in Health Care?”, and I checked out the poster session.

It’s MHO that this kind of thing would work in any setting. Academic libraries could invite posters from their student bodies as well as staff who wouldn’t normally get a chance to showcase their work. Public libraries could invite a local celebrity to be the keynote speaker. Special libraries could open the event to everyone within their organization, generating publicity. And there’s overlap here; I don’t want to limit any of these ideas to any one “type”.

Anyway, probably not the newest thought ever, but something I’d like to tuck away for the future.

Thanks, and good job, iEdge! 🙂

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Plans for Social Networking!

In idea,libraries,social media,web2.0 on January 20, 2007 by ultimatelibrarian

Any Grinnellians read my plan blog?  Both?  Either?  Would you read Burling Libary‘s plan, if it had one?  Wait, what the h*** are GrinnellPlans anyway?  Well, the FAQ is here.

I’m asking this while sitting in the OCLC Social Networking: Best Practices for Libraries session at the ALA Midwinter conference.  (Notice how I linked to the wiki and not the offical site; how very social of me).

So, GrinnellPlans is kind of a unique social networking tool.  It was created by students for students (basically), but some faculty members have a presence.  Student groups are on there.  Your account never expires, so I as an alumna can read the plans of students graduating in ’10 (being 24 feels so old).  Say the library has a plan.  It’s even easier than blogging, it would be a great place to announce events (there is an “autoread” list; if a student puts the library on his or her list, the library will appear any time anything is updated), and put basic library information.  The way I see it, is that the library would not actively read other people’s (students, faculty, etc.), but would only check “planlove” (when someone links to your plan from his/her plan).  This could be a great feedback mechanism.

So, should the library go where the students are?  Would this be an invasion of some sort?  There would need to be a policy.  But the fact that faculty are now allowed to have a plan has opened the door already, in my opinion.  Some of the key principles mentioned by one of the OCLC panelists would be fairly easy to meet:

1) Have a plan (for the plan!  see above about announcements, feedback channel, etc.)

2) Train (the GrinnellPlans interface is ridiculously easy to use; Burling would just need to chose the position within the library that would be in charge; the webmaster might be an option)

3) Invite participants (it wouldn’t be hard to announce a library Plans presence to the library; signs, an announcement in the student newspaper, word of mouth using student library employees)

4) Top-down and bottom-up (both front-line staff and administration need to buy in and participate)

Okay, that’s it for now.  Stay tuned for any more ideas that come up during the next couple of days as the result of ALA.  And please comment!

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Retrospective

In idea,me,newyear,whatever on January 5, 2007 by ultimatelibrarian

It’s been a little more than a year since I began this blog. Looks like I’ve averaged about 1 entry a month. We’ll ignore the fact that I didn’t write anything really during the summer. Let’s take a look at my first entry’s re-solutions and see what’s happening:

re-solution: become a vegetarian again (except for sushi; i love sushi)
Check! With small free-range exceptions for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

re-solution: pay off the credit cards (work-study job raise, hurrah!)
More or less check; credit card balance is currently $0. Woot!

re-solution: put some of what i’ve learned and am learning to good use [in my MLIS program]; sharpen my somewhat dull blog skills, volunteer, get some job experience, etc.
Check marks for everything except the blog skills. Ah well, perhaps this year I should aim for skillz instead.

This year’s concern is money money money. I lost my job/internship at Amgen because headquarters decided to save money by not renewing my contract. My boyfriend of 5 years and I became engaged in October (I proposed to him), so we need to save for a wedding someday. And I want to travel. I actually bought a book on finances for people in their 20’s-30’s. And, to link this entry to something useful perhaps for others, I discovered the website www.bankrate.com. Could be worth passing on to some patrons or something. 🙂

I also wanted to share with you, tovarishi (that is, comrades), that I am writing this in class. An information technologies class, no less. I have a feeling that this will happen fairly often over the next 10 weeks, as I finally learn more about CSS and PHP and so on. And perhaps someday I’ll have a legitimate purpose for my blog that I can market to my superiors (ahhh!!) so that I can blog at work. How’s that for an idea? Marketing ourselves is becoming more and more important to us here in the library world. Making and keeping up a decent blog could be good practice (just don’t follow my example).

Happy New Year!

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little libraries

In idea,libraries,libraryblogs on July 13, 2006 by ultimatelibrarian

Forgive the few and far between posts. *I’ve been busy*. Or something.

Recent news: I am now an intern at a biotech company’s library. I’ve become a member of the SLA. I’m halfway to having my MLIS. I’m reading The Selfish Gene. And I’ve moved into a house with a few friends.

But there is actually a purpose to my writing this. If you, my few and faithful (?) readers, don’t already know about http://www.librarything.com, you really should. It’s an on-line service, much like flickr or del.icio.us, where you enter the books you own (or keep track of the books you’ve read) and tag them and see what other people are reading and so on and so forth. I’m sure you can imagine lots of different ways you can use it.

So, without further ado, here’s the idea for the day (week, month…):

Use LibraryThing as your OPAC (on-line public access catalog) for your small corporate/non-profit/church/whatever library! I have to admit, I didn’t come up with this idea, another girl in my program did, but I’m at the forefront of implementing it for the Richard Hugo House (a resource for Seattle-area writers). Check out our “catalog” at http://www.librarything.com/catalog/hugohouse. We’re tagging our books with their classification numbers, in the hopes that users will be able to sort them not only by author and title (the standard options LibraryThing provides), but by call number for some sort of subject sorting. We’re not the first group to do this; in fact, LibraryThing has a “professional” version on the back burner, but it’s still pretty exciting and I’m definitely storing this idea for future use.

*As an added bonus, here are some other little tools I’ve been using in the small corporate library I work in:

LibraryThing used as a collection development tool or, rather, a weeding aid. I looked up some management-type books we pulled to see how many people had them and to see if any were worth keeping. I ended up making some recommendations to my boss as a result. Definitely not the only tool to use, but it was helpful. (We’re a biotech company, so our librarians, or “information consultants”, as they’re called, don’t have the subject expertise necessarily to know what the good management books are.)

This one isn’t an idea so much as a note of a fabulous resource that I’ve used a couple times to get some outside help. To meet up with lots of other librarians, to get advice, to see what the latest issues are, go check out The Library Lovers’ LiveJournal.

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A Direction

In idea,me on May 1, 2006 by ultimatelibrarian

I've been doing some thinking. I kind of wanted this blog to be "about" something; to have some sort of "focus". And it hasn't really had anything of that sort…until now. After going to a concert for my friend's band, I had this random idea of using the library to promote local musical groups. But where to put this idea so that I never lose it? Why, the blog, of course! The plan is to keep this up until the ideas stop and I become an old, crochety, disillusioned librarian, sometime around 30. Feel free to comment on my "ideas" and tell me that they've already been thought of and implemented elsewhere (tell me where!  tell me where!). Disclaimer: for the most part, I doubt my ideas will be of the technical, OPAC improvement kind (although there might be a little of that). They'll be more community-based, random things that I'd just like to see done in a library setting. Enough.

previous ideas:

1) Create a service for cancer patients and their families. Could work with the social worker and/or caregivers, could be volunteer…I know my mom could have used some help with her Google searches when she was looking up information on my sister's cancer. At that point, neither of us knew about MedlinePlus. (This was better articulated, but I lost where I wrote it down).

2) Create an outreach program that would connect rural physicians with their local public librarian (assuming one exists). This idea came from a health sciences librarianship course I took. (The presentation is mentioned briefly in another entry.)

3) Promote local bands. Create displays and exhibits showcasing their albums (including album art). Make sure your collection owns EVERYTHING local (or, in big cities with lots of groups, maybe just your neighborhood…policy writing time!). On school outreach projects, try to get students to tell you about their groups. Keep track of announcements of concerts in the newspaper and try to collect concert fliers for fun display cases.

today's small display idea:
promote ultimate frisbee! (obvious at all?)

(I also reserve the right to randomly post about anything I want).